Deadlines and the Law of Distraction
I'm currently on a deadline that under the best of circumstances would prove a challenge. But the fact is, it's not the best of circumstances. I've been putting in the sweat equity all right, but the universe keeps lobbing hand grenades into my foxhole, each one more distracting than the next. Illness (bang!), son's birthday (boom!), Christmas (pow!)... then, most recently, a loved one's serious illness (cue mushroom cloud!)
But that's the way it is when you're a writer. Life doesn't stop, and disaster's no respecter of the deadline or art either. I meet so many wanna-be authors who tell me they're get serious as soon as _____ settles down in their lives. But I'm here to tell you, the ________'s just there to teach you how to develop the focus to write through anything. If it teaches you instead to make excuses, then you'll never make it in the trenches. Because the hand grenades will just keep raining down; they don't buy into the myth of the lonely artist living in splendid isolation and grunting out each breach-born word as if it were the Second Coming.
You're in the foxhole when you're working. And the best, bravest, most defiant thing you can do is to plug your ears a little while and turn your total focus to the book.
So how do you react to stress? By escaping into your work or freezing up completely? And is there anything (non-pharmaceutical) that can be done to change the way you deal with it?