Recently I read many blog posts from writers who are dealing with difficulties, some of the personal and some of the professional kind. You can probably think of three or four people you know from blogging right off the top of your head who are dealing with a health issue of their own, an ill family member or worse. Some have had to seek different employment that interferes with their writing. Some are dealing with some stress that doesn't have a terrible source like a new child. Even success creates its own breed of stress such as promotion, checking those sales numbers, facing the reviews, and trying to write the next novel and make it better than the one before.
Most people know how bad stress can be for your physical and emotional health, but it also affect your creative abilities. A number of articles I read put forth the idea that stress strikes us with tunnel-vision. Stress thinking is narrowed thinking.
Though lots of people believe that writing out feelings help with stress, that same stress might make it impossible for a fiction writer to work through a scene. The creativity takes a hike when the blood pressure is up.
Now Dr. Susan here doesn't offer a cure for when stress bogs down your writing output. I can only repeat the known courses of action. Physical exercise is a proven reducer of stress symptoms. Talking to someone or writing out the problems. And don't beat yourself up if your creative output drops off doing stressful periods. It's to be expected because you're human.
How do you deal with your stress? Have you have a time when you just couldn't work on your writing because of what life threw at you?