On Monday, as I scrambled to finish an editing project, get the kids ready for school, and put together a newsletter—I felt stressed. I wasn’t sure how I’d finish it all. And then my computer crashed. In the 48 hours between crash and rescue, I whined and worried about losing data, finishing projects, and spending so much money on new equipment. Of course complaining did not erase my angst. Working did. In the absence of a computer, I wrote what I could by hand. I worked on projects that required nothing but elbow grease (like moving books).
In his book, The Last Lecture, Randy Pausch wrote this about complaining:
If you took one-tenth the energy you put into complaining and applied it to solving the problem, you’d be surprised by how well things can work out… Complaining does not work as a strategy. We all have finite time and energy. Any time we spend whining is unlikely to help us achieve our goals. And it won’t make us happier.
As writers, we waste our precious creative energy when we:
+worry about what we need to do and how we will do it
+talk through our stories and projects with colleagues
+complain about the challenges of publishing
+whine about how others are getting more attention than we are
+ruminating about rejections and lost opportunities
The solution? Stop it! Stop worrying, complaining and whining. Put your creative energy into your writing first. Then, work towards solutions in the areas you worry about. Schedule time to take care of your unfinished business. Get help with revising your work. Submit the rejected story again (and again and again)!
Pro Tip: When I’m having an especially tough time worrying instead of writing, I watch Bob Newhart’s “Stop it” therapy video. Try it. I’ll bet you’ll be writing in no time!
Epilogue. My tech guy fixed the crashed computer and helped me set up a new one. As far as I can tell, no data was lost. Whew! I’m still in the process of moving files and learning a new system, but I’m thankful.
Your turn: What tools help you to stop worrying and write?