This past weekend I was so fortunate to get to attend the Pikes Peak Writer’s Conference. Let me first say the conference is listed as one of the best by Writer’s Digest for a reason. Informative presentations, friendly people and surprising opportunities made this conference an amazing experience.
Early on in the conference, I had an a-ha moment. One of those moments that make me say “A-ha! Now I get it!” Surprisingly, it wasn’t about writing, story structure, or character development (although I had lots of those, too.) No, it was about pressure.
Pressure is a word that is misused in our vocabulary.When you start thinking of pressure, it’s because you’ve started to think of failure. Tommy Lasorda
I signed up for a read and critique session and happened to draw Leis Pederson, who is an Associate Editor at Berkley books. On Friday, I was so tense about reading my first page to an editor who could make a difference in my life the muscles in my shoulders felt like rocks. All of a sudden, I realized that most of the pressure I was feeling originated from myself. My expectations, my plans, my goals.
I wish I could say what exactly triggered my a-ha moment, but I can’t. It just became so clear that, until I have externally imposed writer-ly deadlines, it’s all coming from me.
There is no such thing as talent. There is pressure. Alfred Adler
Pressure is good to have. I am a firm believer in goal setting because of the pressure inherent in writing down a goal, and creating a plan to attain it.
Pushing yourself to meet that goal, no matter the cost, is not good.
There were people crying at the conference because their pitch sessions didn’t go as they hoped. I was a nervous wreck because I was placing so much importance on the possibilities that might occur at the conference. There has to be a balance. As much as I want to be a success at writing, and would love to have a big enough of a writing career to be able to write books for a living, it is not life and death.
No pressure, no diamonds. Thomas Carlyle
Pressure is a necessary component to success. If we wait around for things to happen for us, they most likely never will. One of the speakers I went to, Linda Rohrbough, said “Prepare for success. You can fail without any effort at all.” Pressure to succeed is what moves us forward.
Pressure is there to inspire us and make us do our best and achieve our dreams. Pressure can also stress us out, and create anxiety about the future. Whether pressure is a positive force or a negative force in our life depends upon our perspective. The decision is ours.