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So much stress, its stopping me from progressing help

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PraiseRao

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I did many pomodoros (work sessions) last month and I think I'm paying for it now. I can hardly do anything. It sucks, when I sit down and try to write. I am currently in the middle of a revision of my first novel, which is currently sitting at about 70k words give for take 10k things get cut things get added you know the deal.

I need to get back to my revisions and some writing. I don't know what to do. It's the stress, it makes me hate it. I want to work on it. In some capacity. But the stress just says NO


I talked to my psychiatrist about it and she was going to give me a new prescription, however my insurance doesn't cover it so I might just go on a higher dose of another medication.
 

stephenf

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It is impossible to actuly advise others, regarding how things should be done . It is a struggle for most writers to find the best way to work . Writing can be stressful . Writing a lot can lower the stress level. Dividing your writing on forums , work books , short stories and reading can be less stressful than concentrating on a single and large project . Also, we all need to manage time effectively, but clock watching can be an extra burden you can probably live without . Personally I have a to-do list in my head . I give so much time to each on the list and I'm satisfied if everything seems to be making a forward progress. But I will probably take a to-do list to the grave.
 
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Ari Meermans

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To-do lists and prioritizing tasks work well in many situations. In others, changing activities altogether helps.

One thing I have noticed during my 10+ years on this forum is that so few of you give yourselves permission to relax or to play. If you expect to ever recharge, you absolutely need to make time for play. Traditional forms of play—physical and mental—are great; pick whatever excites or interests you. Something else you can do that still qualifies as "play" is to step away from the actual writing or revising of your story and mentally go live for a while in the world of your story. No writing, just living there and looking around. Daydream your days in that world. No pressure to write anything. Just be there. We all knew how to do that as kids; go do it again.
 

ChaseJxyz

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If you're in the US, check out GoodRX, it's a "coupon" that you can use in place of insurance so you get a much lower price on an rx. I have platinum-tier insurance and I still use GoodRX for some of my meds because the price with that is cheaper, somehow.

One of the things that I learned that helped me the most with my mental health is learning to let go of my need to do things solely for the benefit of others. Example: I SHOULD put all my clothes on hangers and hang them up in my closet, because that's what everyone does, that's the way you should hang up clothes. But I have ADHD and the amount of time/effort it would take to do that becomes a mental block, my clothes stay in the laundry basket, and I feel awful for not being able to do a "simple" thing. But now I work WITH my brain, not against it, so I have a big chest of drawers in my closet so I just shove clothes into that, they get put away, and I don't feel bad about not doing things the "right" way. "Should" is a really terrible word, all it really does is guilt you because you're not living up to the expectations of nameless/faceless people.

So when you say you NEED to get back to revisions/writing, who's saying that? If it's an edtior/agent, then yeah, your approach is going to be very different, but if it's not, then you're comparing yourself to others and how they do things, and all that'll accomplish is it'll make you feel bad. You need to be kind to yourself in order to create, and making yourself feel bad because you feel like it's the correct thing to do is the opposite. Give yourself permission to put this down and forget about it for a week or two or three. Consume other media that you've been meaning to get around to and enjoy the story and characters and all that. Get some fresh air, hang out with friends, make cookies, whatever it is that gives your the serotonin/dopamine/endorphins (this is where the "just do yoga!" part neurotypicals talk fits in). If there's other things in your life that's stressing you out, work on them, if possible.

Perhaps even write something else, just for fun (for me, it's incredibly specific and really stupid fanfiction), where you can try new things and you don't have to follow any of the "rules' you set for your main project (so different POV, tenses, much more casual narrator, characters who would do different things...). Do whatever it is that makes the story really fun for you to write! I think sometimes we get so bogged down within the confines of our primary projects that we forget there's other ways to approach problems or execute certain ideas. I also believe that every time you make an [x], you learn something and become a better [x]er, so letting yourself play around with standalone ideas will have you returning to your main project more experienced and with a deeper knowledge of your craft. Like I recently learned that I really can't manage more than 4 people actively talking in a scene, too many balls to juggle, but I'm glad I found that out in a short fic I'll never touch again instead of a larger project where I would need to rewrite/redo an entire scene to solve such a problem, which would be a huge pain. Also the dopamine of finishing a project is good, too, even if said project is only 1,000 words.
 

Introversion

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One thing I have noticed during my 10+ years on this forum is that so few of you give yourselves permission to relax or to play. If you expect to ever recharge, you absolutely need to make time for play.
QFT. Also, amen! I realize what I’m about to say comes from a place of privilege. I don’t need to write to pay bills. For me, it’s just a hobby that doesn’t cost much to do. And sometimes it even makes me happy.

But when it doesn’t make me happy — when it feels as fruitless as pushing on a rope, when it makes me feel incompetent or worse — I step away. Read. Watch TV. Cook. Pet a cat. Whatever.

And when I write, I do what works for me, which usually isn’t what I see recommended. PraiseRao, I get the sense what you’re doing isn’t working and you’re beating yourself up? Stop.

I see recommendations to write 500-1000 words a day, every day. Can’t. I don’t track my average daily word-count, because it’s pitiful and makes me feel incompetent, or lazy, or both. A really good session might be 300 words. If I write only 50, but they’re good? Yay, me!

I see recommendations to never edit until you’re done. Can’t. I start most writing sessions by editing something I wrote earlier. I often get nothing new written, just rewritten. Daily word count is often negative. (Good thing I don’t care, eh?)

FWIW, I can tell you why I continue writing my novel-in-progress, which has been “in progress” for an embarrassingly long time. Because I want to know how it ends. I have no idea how, yet, and dammit no one else has volunteered to tell me. 😂

Everyone’s recommendations are what work for them. Don’t stress over expectations you’ve set for yourself, that are how it works for others. If you need to take a week off to recharge, do. Stare at clouds. Go for long walks. Throw rocks into a river. Write something else, if that helps. Above all, be kind to yourself. There’s only one of you. They’re special.
 

PraiseRao

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Thank you all for your replies. They are greatly appreciated.

"PraiseRao, I get the sense what you’re doing isn’t working and you’re beating yourself up? Stop."
Yes that's exactly what is happening. I'm just not getting things done as I should be. I'm in the middle of a revision and had to go back and redo most of the last of the 2nd act. So that in itself is pushing back the self imposed deadlines. On top of that I've been spinning my wheels trying to write the parts I need to for the end of the 2nd act.

Before that the revision was going swimmingly. Some days I got so much done. Then I had to take a break because when I do work I get stressed out and am forced to take a break. I haven't been able to cross off a 'this is revised' scene off the list for a month now.

Just having to do something stresses me out greatly. I have actually pretty severe mental health problems. I am ok for a while sometimes but then when I am doing well the stress incapacitates me.
 
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krawriter

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If you're in the US, check out GoodRX, it's a "coupon" that you can use in place of insurance so you get a much lower price on an rx.
I'll second GoodRX, solely because I ignored them for almost a year assuming they were some sort of BS or scam. They're actually completely legit, and have saved me hundreds of dollars in the past. The only annoyance is that the pharmacy that will give you the best deal with GoodRX is often not the pharmacy you normally use.
 

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