As an entrepreneur, I think I’ve been in denial about a little thing called stress, for years. Perhaps “ignorance” is more accurate than “denial,” though. It’s just that I always thought of “stress” as something suffered by working moms, high powered lawyers, and people in the midst of divorce. As for me: I’m self employed, have no dependents, do what I love, make my own hours, and never set an alarm clock. How could I have stress?
Writers are entrepreneurs, with the same stressors
Lately I’ve noticed I hurry when there’s no rush. I don’t take breaks on weekends. I even get stomachaches over small problems. These are signs of a stressed out system. Truth is, being self employed means never knowing where the next client will come from. Somehow, largely thanks to great word-of-mouth press, I’ve stayed in this business for a decade, but being self employed means there are never any guarantees. Work could dry up inexplicably. Publishers sometimes go crazy for my work, but sometimes not, and their reasons are unknowable. The uncertainty of being a writer is legion.
My work-from-home lifestyle–which a lot of folks envy–is actually really stressful. Part of the problem is that besides being entrepreneurs, writers also suffer from the affliction of curiosity.
For Writers and Entrepreneurs, Novelty is Stressful
As a writer, I’m curious. That means I’m always into something new. For instance, in the past year, I’ve started a whole-house renovation, begun my first PR campaign, taken peyote, and learned how electricity works. I’m always into something new. Novelty is the spice of life, but when you wake up in the morning knowing you have to do something you’ve never done before, as I often do, that’s still stressful.
So, writers, be kind to yourselves! Your stress may be a-typical, but it can still drag you down. Take advantage of chances to do fun things, get outside in good weather, and take yourself out for brunch. You deserve it just for the effort you’re putting into self expression.