As a writer – as a creative of any kind really, but I’m speaking from a writer’s perspective – there is a lot of pressure on you to produce.
Some of it is external. I hear now-a-days that one book a year is starting to be not enough. In my opinion, that kind of pace for everyone across the board is crap. You can only do what you can do, but the pressure is still there.
Some of it is internal. All the time, I’m seeing book release announcements and I feel pressure to produce. It should be noted that this is not all from a single person, but from all of my writer friends combined. That, too is crap. That it’s not 1 person, but an entire group of people, all working independently goes to show you how much crap it is. I’d have to crank out a novel every 4 months – without fail – to make a serious attempt to keep pace.
Now there’s nothing wrong with testing yourself, but it should be an occasional thing. Ask any athlete and they’ll tell you that you’d ruin yourself if you pushed the upper limits of your abilities all the time without easing up.
You need to ease back every now and again. Not only to recover and refill the well, but to evaluate what you’ve been doing. Is it working as well as you wanted? Is it working at all?
This is a good thing – a necessary thing – and don’t let anybody tell you that it isn’t. You can’t run at 100% all of the time and you shouldn’t feel bad about easing off the accelerator. Eventually, one way or the other, you’ll have to stop for gas.
To keep with the vehicle metaphor, it really isn’t about the destination anyway. It doesn’t matter how fast you get there. Why? Because there’s always more road. Before you know it, your destination has turned into your starting line and, if you don’t take the time to appreciate it, you’ll miss it.
The journey does you the most good. Stop every now and again to take a look around and stretch your legs. Take in the air, see the sights, maybe grab a bite to eat. The road will test you, but it’ll teach you if you let it.
I’ll see you on Thursday. Be Excellent to each other.
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