Originally posted February 12, 2012 (before the disaster)
Photo from Dreamstime
A little like the gibbon above, I was clinging to my sanity this week.
It’s not that I’m a particularly unstable person, but every so often (once or twice a year), things combine to create the perfect storm of stress in my world. I don’t always handle stress very well or, rather, I handle it well until it builds up to a certain point after which I just can’t take more of it. Here’s what hit me this week:
- My day job is very stressful and involves working with people (both teammates and clients) with whom I don’t always see eye to eye.
- My writing life wasn’t going very well. I was anxious about the critiques that I sent out last week, and was beginning to feel like the novel I’m currently re-writing just wasn’t going the way that I wanted it to.
- I wasn’t sleeping well, so was tired and a bit depressed.
- My boyfriend was busy and not sleeping very well either, meaning that our quality time together was… lacking.
- My cats are little brats who like to try and trip me and pee on my clothes.
When I write it all out like that, it doesn’t seem like much, but each of those items had been building for a month or more. Items 1 and 2, with some “help” from item 3, managed to bring me down this week.
Unfortunately, item 1 isn’t something that I can fix very easily without changing jobs, although I am working with management to try to improve things within the company (one of the perks of being with a small company for nearly four years is that management are friends and tend to listen to what you’re saying). I hope that things will get better soon, but in the meantime, it’s also the stressful time of year in my industry, where everyone’s trying to get everything done right NOW.
Fortunately, item 2 seems to have resolved itself (for now). Most of my critiques were positive, although one critiquer in particular had some very thought-provoking things to say about the structure of my novel. Given that I’m currently at “that point” in the novel where I’m questioning its direction and purpose, that hit me a little harder than I’d been expecting. Still, the short story that I submitted gained some rave reviews, and I’ll probably start sending it out to publishers once I’ve tidied it up a bit. That’s exciting, and heartening, even if “Fighter One” isn’t going quite the way I want it to… yet.
Items 3 and 4 seem to slowly be sorting themselves out as we make more and more positive changes to our lifestyle (more on that in another blog post!) And item 5 will probably never change. Cats will be cats!
Although writing may be stressful in and of itself, with characters that never do what you expect them to, plots veering off in unexpected directions, the dreaded Writer’s Block, and the stresses associated with an unpredictable but particular audience, I still maintain that I could manage them better than the more immediate and personal stress of my day job.
It remains my dream to figure that out one day.
What about you? What is your major source of stress?