Not so much a thought about how to write a stressed character, but I guess I could do that some time too. This is more me thinking about my personal life the last month or two.
There is a fine line for me somewhere in overwork where I become extremely productive. When I am content I produce little of skill or value and I find it hard to make my mind focus on a single task.
However the same thing happens when I work too much. I’m miserable and utterly unproductive. I have never had a job that produced in me a consistently productive level of misery.
I honestly regret that because one of my worst habits as a writer is that when I conceive of a story I usually have a number of scenes and aspects in my mind from the get go and only when I’m producing those scenes and aspects is my work quick. Everything flows and I’ll spend hours putting word to page regardless of fatigue or contentment.
The connective tissue is created only very slowly. And for that I’m sorry for my readers.
On a related note, “review whoring”. I recently saw something someone wrote where they said a few things that were very interesting to me. First, was a kind of garden variety “I wish I could write, but I don’t have that talent”. This is, on its face, laughable. Especially to me. in my youth I was so absolutely adamant in my refusals to write that even producing a one page essay was a work of multiple hours even if the paper was off the cusp. Simply due to the unfamiliarity and distaste for the action.
Let me say this, if you can recognize good and bad writing, you can write yourself. You merely have to begin. It took me about 100000 words of fiction before I’ve produced anything I’m the least bit proud of. But all of that was a labor of force. and along the whole way I was reading. If you read, you can write. The difficulty is in the starting. But back to that provocative thing I noted.
It is Deathly difficult to maintain the will to write the parts you are not specifically looking forward to in my opinion if you’re doing it solely for yourself. Writing is not a purely personal act. Since time immemorial storytelling is a group effort. You write for your audience. the internet has done a lot of good for putting you in a place to actually find eyes for your story, but the utter lack of feedback can be demoralizing.
I will speak of fanfiction.net because that’s where I post my work. I can see that someone has Favorited my story, I can see that someone has placed an alert on my story, I can tell that people are reading it, how many times the story was accessed and how many people accessed it and where they were from. But I can’t see their faces. I can’t hear their complaints, see their gripes, or share their wonder at the twists I have placed before them. It is a soulless interaction. Reviews change that. It’s like suddenly the nameless numbers have a person behind them and I can for a moment see my story through someone else’s eyes. I understand the people who hold their story hostage for reviews, I don’t like it, or condone it, but I understand it.
Please, if you like a story, don’t just hit favorite, or 5 stars or something like that, Take a moment, even if you’re on your phone and drop a review, even just a sentence means the world.