Sound familiar? Even most unpublished authors wouldn’t envy the published author this type of pressure. But over the course of a career, the likelihood is great that one or many events will throw off a writer’s schedule.
There are times when work has to take a temporary stop. No doubt about it. When major stress hits, be sure to pray and meditate each day. You don’t have time not to stop and do this.
Carve out some time each day to write. Most families understand that a writer being paid has to treat her work with the same seriousness as someone working for a corporation. Writers may appear to have a leisurely life, but working from home is still work. A flexible schedule doesn’t mean no schedule. Bringing family on board to ease your burdens at home quickly is paramount to accomplishing your writing goals, especially in times of stress.
When it becomes obvious that your family will be under unusual stress for a long period, do your best to establish your new normal as quickly as possible. Going by the new schedule, figure out when you can work and keep that schedule. Let your family know that these are your new writing hours and must be respected.
When you discover that you will be under stress, immediately inform your professional partners. This will help bring them on board and they will understand if, despite your best efforts, you find you need to ask for a deadline extension. But please, only ask for a deadline extension as a last resort. Publishing a book is a process involving many steps and people. Being very late with one part of the process creates a domino effect of pressure down the line for everyone. This is not to say it’s never permissible to ask for an extension. I only to encourage you to work out a way to meet your schedule on your own first if you can.
During unusual stress, people will understand that you may not be as prompt with answering emails and phone calls. However, being a bit more slow is not the same as being absent. This is not the time to hide for days from your editor or agent. Your editor still has deadlines, and may need your help to do her job to meet her own deadlines. You must be available for those times.
No one is immune to emergencies, trauma, and stress. Such events usually occur at the worst times. But by praying, guarding your time, keeping to a schedule, and bringing your partners on board, you should be able to weather the storm and be proud of your new published books.
What was your last crisis that interrupted your work? How did you handle it?
What other tips can you offer writers under stress?
Do you have a favorite Bible verse or devotional book that has helped you during stressful times?