Stress Kills Creativity

I entered 2019 feeling rejuvenated – my creativity glowed green as ideas for blogs, and short stories filled my inner-eye. Goals of completing my second book gave me heady visions of near-term accomplishments. I was ready-set-go, and let’s get this done.

Coming home from work the day after New Year’s I popped open my laptop prepared to write a story, or blog about my newest guilty pleasure but the page remained free of words throughout the entire evening.

A blanket of emptiness settled over my shoulders. Its burdensome weight squished incentive and zapped energy. I was too wired to concentrate, too tired to complete simple correspondence, and too mired with real-life responsibilities.

Creativity came to a close. My characters stayed frozen in weird poses waiting for dialog and stage directions. The blog I wanted to write, Doing the Write Stuff turned into Doing the Write Stuff Without Words. It never amounted to more than quick jots in a notebook that never made it off the paper.

I had set aside time to write. I had writing buddies ready to edit my expositions. I had enthusiasm generated by the most number of likes on my last blog. I should be amped – I can’t quit now.

What happened to my carefully crafted plans? What had changed?

It wasn’t hard to figure out. At work, a new challenge ousted me from my comfort zone. Instead of leaving work at work, I had brought the stress of it home with me. Additional hours and impossible deadlines and fear of failure ate at my resolve to put words on paper.

Friday evening, after another long day, I needed to address this new reality and my creative ambitions. This is what I came up with:

Protect Creativity from Stress

  • Allow for a reprieve. It’s not a sign of failure.
  • When life happens – prioritize appropriately.
  • Reschedule creative time, so it’s not forgotten.

By allowing myself to miss last week’s blog, I relieved stress over an upcoming presentation by escaping into novels. For a few hours, I forgot to worry. My ability to focus on writing is coming back. I’m able to string words together and publish this blog.

Stress at work won’t be relieved for several weeks or more. Deadlines are littering my schedule, and must-read emails are flooding my Inbox. My promise is to not to lose sight of my personal goals and not to hit myself over the head with them either.

If you have ways to deal with stress, please share.

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