Don’t freak out. “Freaking out” is the one thing that jams the brakes on my writing ability. I’m not talking about pressure. Pressure, deadlines, ticking clocks, I can deal with. For me, I can get overwhelmed when suddenly too many things are heaped on me, like trying to write a coherent feature article while packing for vacation and fielding phone calls, while the background is filled with ringing microwaves to feed children and dinging dryers to let me know my laundry is done and “Mom, did you pack my Perry the Platypus shirt” and “Mom, how many bathing suits do I need?”… You get the picture. I become completely stressed, cannot concentrate and wind up producing sub-par writing, which makes me even more stressed.
What I try to do to avoid these situations — which sometimes, I admit, are unavoidable — is focus on time management. If you anticipate a rush of deadlines or have too many things scheduled for a certain day, try to stagger your projects in a way that leaves you some quality time to write. If you can’t, and you have to write amid chaos, like me, you can turn into the now’s-the-time-to-take-advantage-of-me mom, doling out cookies, cakes, extra computer or TV time, or promises to go to Disney World or Australia, just so Iyou can have a few minutes of peace to finish an article. Hey, you have to do what it takes. Or, if you can, just throw up your hands and take a day off from writing and wait for the quiet after the storm.