May 18, 2014

Trying Something New: stress-filled, but good for the creative soul

By Dayna E. Mazzuca

Trying something new is sure to induce stress. Tackling a project bigger than the last one can lead to sleep loss. Obsessing over something with no guarantee of success to loss of appetite, shortness of temper and increased irritability…. all sure signs of stress. It also might mean you’re absorbed in something large enough to motivate you, stir the imagination and spur you on to a finished work. I’d even argue that trying something new and big and scary is necessary to the creative soul.

So, yes, I am trying something new (a book length project—solo). And, yes, I am losing sleep, acting grumpy, not eating regularly, etc., etc. (Thank you God for my family's love and wisdom in giving me space during these seasons of creative-surges).

In the past, I’ve contributed to books; co-authored and self-published. But. I really think I need a book that’s all mine, published by a traditional print publisher. I see it as a calling card—basically a door-opener to leading writing workshops, which I love to do.
It should be easy. As a freelancer and a former journalist, I’m used to writing to deadline, following assigned word counts (under 2,000) and generally using a template for my work. But I find setting my own deadline (June 30) and my own word count (35,000) and working with chapters rather than sub-heads requires a different energy level, sustained focus and a longer admin process. In other words—I'm not sure I'm entirely up for it!

Turns out matching the writer’s skill and experience with the writer’s goals and dreams is no small feat. As Yente the MatchMaker in Fiddler on the Roof knows, we all need some help now and then to make that perfect match!

So... I took a breather and went back to leading writing groups for Christian women. Eight to ten of us meet every second week at the local Christian bookstore after hours. They serve us fancy coffees and arrange comfy chairs around the tables. We talk about writing, genres, publishing goals and the roadblocks along the way. Even though I’m the one facilitating the evening, I am part of the group, with my own writing goals and roadblocks. It’s very (very!) encouraging.

Coaching this group of women through the basics of the business and realizing how deep our support for one another goes...  inspired me to take the next step in my own career—the next step forward on this path the Lord has had me on for a long time now.

Doing something new, something big IS scary. It causes stress and can lead to fretting. So I am thankful for these wonderful women who gather together to pursue their own dreams of writing. I realized it wouldn’t be right for me to encourage and equip them to follow their path without being willing to follow my own. I really believe we are all on this larger, God-designed and Spirit-inspired path together—daring to create something that mirrors and echoes all the good stuff HE has put inside us.

The good news is the creative soul really does love a challenge! 


  1. Hi Dayna,
    Your post is giving me cause to pay attention to the nudges I'm getting to facilitate a writers' group again. It's been rolling around in my heart for awhile. Enjoyed your message!

  2. Dayna, I love the sound of those flavoured coffees! More than that, though, I love how you are not only leading your women's writing group, but how they are encouraging you and keeping you accountable. It seems we benefit so much from encouragement and from sharing our dreams with others. I look forward to hearing more about your book!
    Pam Mytroen

  3. Nice Dayna. How good it is to surround ourselves with like-minded souls and when we encourage others we are encouraged, too. Bless you as you journey on, being disciplined and focussed. Happy writing!

  4. Thanks Dayna
    The line that challenged me was - "matching the writer’s skill and experience with the writer’s goals and dreams is no small feat."
    Thanks for the encouragement.

  5. We all need a cheering squad, don't we? Hebrews 12: 1,2. So glad you have one to support you on your new journey.

  6. Faith takes us out of our comfort zone--something we all fight, but know we'll be better for it!
    Thanks for the reminder we all need to stretch ourselves for the kingdom.


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