By Miguelina Perez

How we love our muses, let us count the ways.
How we deal with the pressures of creativity; let us count the days.

As you begin your journey through the writing process, you begin to ask yourself questions: Where do I begin? What should I write about? Or how should I tell my story? But you figure it out and finally, your story is published.

Then out of the blue your fan-base, thrilled with your book, wants to know how soon can you write the next one? Then you get a call from your agent or publisher, wanting to know how soon you can complete the next book. Okay, I sense panic coming.

I am going to let you in on a secret, where pressure to write the next book is concerned; you are not alone. Pressure is common and as artists we will all experience it at one point or another. What will be different is how you cope with it.

For WRW member Sally MacKenzie, author of The Naked King, the image of a cave is symbolic for her in that it is the place she goes to hide from the pressures of writing.

“I am, sadly, not a fast writer. I’ve come to accept this and work with it. I’m sure there are things I can do to be more efficient, but I think my process is fundamentally inefficient. I’m what some people call a pantser—I don’t outline,” MacKenzie said. “I usually muse for a while about the characters, their personalities, families, and histories, and then I start writing. … I also try not to procrastinate. The sooner I get started on a book the better. And I try to force myself to stay in my writerly cave and just focus on the story and characters as much as I can. Once I’m into the book, the characters show me the way.  It’s great to get lost in their lives and in the actual creative process.”

And don’t forget in the midst of all this pressure that it’s okay to take a moment and do some gardening or perhaps a hike. Any type of physical activity has been known to help relieve stress and clear the mind. Go for it and good luck in your next writing adventure!

So let the rest of WRW in on your secret, what do you do to lessen the pressure?