Under Pressure

Writers put a lot of pressure on themselves, hence the guilt. Question is: should we? I’m sure I’ve read ‘inspirational’ blog posts by other writers saying we should give ourselves a break. Writing isn’t easy, no-one said it would be, but that doesn’t mean we should work ourselves to exhaustion – coming home from a long day at work, for those of us unable to give up our day jobs, yet, to work more, i.e. write. We need time to ourselves, as well – we need a break. We put too much pressure on ourselves.

Is this true?

I love this argument – it’s perfect fuel for my lazy self. If I come home after a hard day at work and don’t feel particularly inspired or creative, I can say to myself ‘everyone needs time for themselves – you need a break, too. You put too much pressure on yourself. Take the night off, you can write tomorrow.’ Trouble is, I often can’t do it tomorrow – my day job rota does not make allowances for ‘doing it tomorrow’ – if I have time today, chances are, I won’t tomorrow because I’ll be working all day (i.e. from 12 noon until 2am.) Even if I am lucky enough to have an easy week in terms of my shifts and can do it tomorrow, you’d be surprised how many consecutive days I can use that argument without it losing it’s persuasiveness.

If I give myself a break, if I don’t put pressure on myself, I don’t write. If I don’t write, I won’t ever be a writer. All I have ever really wanted to do with my life is be a writer. OK, when I was a little kid I went through a phase of wanting to be a farmer’s wife (anti-feminist, I know) and I wanted to be a vet until I worked out that it wouldn’t be ideal, considering I was allergic to anything furry (grew out of it, ironically enough) but other than that, it’s been writer, all the way.

My point is, if you want to be a writer, you have to write. Most of the time you won’t want to – you’ll be tired from your day job or invited out to the pub with your friends. If you let yourself not write, if you don’t put pressure on yourself, you’ll never be a writer.

I should add that this post applies much more to the naturally lazy among us. If you are a workaholic and never stop, do not use this as fuel for that – I don’t want to be responsible for any health issues. (Lazy writers – don’t even try to make that about you – you know who you are. Now do some work.)


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