Three ways to take the pressure off writing daily.
I have been a freelance writer for over forty years and I KNOW what pressure feels like. I’ve finished dozens of writing projects by staying up the entire night. NOT a great feeling. Takes too long long to recover from the stress and lost sleep.
So here’s the thing. I’m now semi-retired. A friend of mine told me about medium about a year ago and I became “engaged.” I love the freedom to write with my own voice and I love the feedback.
Over the months I have read many articles in which Medium writers talk about the pressure of continually posting on Medium. Whether they were posting 10 times a month, 30 times a month or going for 60+ times a month. They felt the pressure.
I thought it was “interesting.” One article a day causing pressure? I never thought that I too would “succumb” to feeling the pressure.
A few months ago, after several starts and stops, I started increasing my posting frequency. Then I decided to do a month in which I would post daily for 30-days. On the very last day, my Mom ended up in emergency and I spent the day with her. I missed my 30-days by ONE day. Oh Well! Did you notice? Did you count the number of articles I did? Be honest, do you care that I only did 29 instead of 30?
And YES, the curious thing is that after the first 10 days I started feeling the pressure. Most of the time, I had my article scheduled in the night before posting day. Other times I was writing the article ON the posting day. Didn’t much care for that. On average it takes me one hour to three hours to write an article. So WHY the pressure? It’s not real, it’s in my head … if I get up at 7 AM, I have 15 hours in which to get my story posted ON the scheduled posting day.
Here’s the thing I have learned from freelancing for 40 years. I actually figured this out within the first two years, but had to “prove” it over again, several times over the course of 40 years.
1. Pressure is mostly in your head.
2. Get the work done AHEAD of your deadline there is NO pressure.
The bottom line is that pressure is just a feeling.
WE are the ones that create that feeling, and with a few mind games, you can get rid of the feeling.
Let’s start with … who SAID you had to post 10, 30, 60 stories in a month? YOU did, it was your decision. No one is actually watching and no one (except you) actually gives a damn. Even IF you declare a 30-day challenge … NO ONE gives a hoot if you make it or not.
There is nothing stopping you from taking a day off. There is nothing stopping you from not posting one day and then posting two articles the next day … same result 30 articles at the end of 30-days.
Now here’s the thing. The fact that you said you’d do something is a COMMITMENT. I happen to think that commitments MUST be kept. The mere fact of the commitment creates the pressure. And while we may not enjoy the pressure, it can spur us on. It can be the motivation we need, in order to accomplish BIG things, in order to live our dreams, in order to feed ourselves and our children.
Pressure CAN be a good thing. But on the negative end of the scale, pressure can set up a stress cycle that causes feelings of anxiety and panic. NOT GOOD because these will curtail your ability to think, to be creative, to get in the zone and to produce.
If you look back … at my #2 learning about pressure, it is that if you get the work done AHEAD of your deadline there is NO pressure.
On those days when my article was written a day ahead of time, and scheduled to appear first thing on my posting day … there was NO pressure. Sure I had to write another article, but I was a day ahead. NO pressure.
At the end of my 30-days with 29 posts … I decided to get AHEAD of my self-imposed deadlines with some games.
I’m going to warn you that the games might create more pressure, IF they do … don’t play.
The whole idea is to set yourself up for success, by taking the pressure off and by doing so, increasing your creativity and productivity.
GAME ONE: Don’t Post For Five To Ten Days.
You are taking fiveto ten days off of POSTING. You WILL be writing an article a day and keeping your unpublished articles in your story BIN.
When you have accumulated 5-10 stories, schedule them out 5-10 days in advance. Now all you have to do is keep on writing one article a day and you will always be scheduling your new articles 5-10 days in advance.
Does that take the pressure off? If you can’t keep up, you can take a few days off and recharge your batteries … knowing that your articles are popping up daily.
GAME TWO: Write 1/7th Of An Extra Article Every Day.
This is actually my favorite … and the results can be VERY satisfying.
The idea is to keep on writing your daily article. Then as soon as you have completed your article, work on an EXTRA article. Write 100 to 200 words a day on the extra. At the end of the week, you will have one extra article in your Story Bin. Your article will be 700 to 1400 words long. At the end of the month you will have FOUR extras in your Story Bin.
Does that remove some of the pressure?
Here’s what might happen.
*you will stick to your 100-200 “extra article” words and finish an article in a week.
*you will end up getting inspired and write more than 200 words on some days, finishing your extra article in five days instead of seven days.
*you will write 200 words for two days in a row and then on the third day, you just keep on going because you can’t stop. Your extra article is finished in three days … and it is freaking brilliant!
Yep … that’s what happened with THIS article! I’m not sure about the freaking brilliant part, but I started the article on day one and then on day two it just all poured out. Magic!
BUT … BIG BUT, I am going to take the pressure off by saying, 100 words a day is perfect, this will work even if you are never inspired. Just gird your loins and keep writing.
GAME THREE: Write Two Articles Instead Of One, Once A Week
OK I’ll admit that this one might ADD some pressure! But if you choose to write two SHORT “top of the head” articles maybe not.
You will have FOUR extra articles at the end of the month.
You can vary this game by writing two articles a day for a week for the first month. This will have you with seven extra article in your Story Bin. Want more? Do this once a month.
That’s it –three games you can play. They will take the pressure off and give you the feeling of being able to breath! If you keep the game going, who knows … you may end up with 30 extra articles in your Story Bin. This would allow you to take two weeks off and still have extras!
Here are a few other ideas that might help take the pressure off: