Friday, May 25, 2007

Stress Factor

Poor little Lucy, she's off to Edinburgh for an Adrian Mead course soon and she has to fly there. She hates flying... with a passion. She'll be experiencing that tight, sick feeling in the pit of her stomach, the shaking hands, the wobbly voice and the weak knees. It's not a nice feeling, is it? The things we suffer for our passion.

It got me thinking about situations I find myself in as a writer where I feel the same as above; phoning production companies, going to seminars and meeting people who have had more success writing than I have (I always feel like a dribbling, arse licking freak, eager to bleed knowledge from them but also aware I might come across as slightly disturbed).

I got married last year; that was the easy part. The bit I was most scared about was having to give a speech in front of both sets of family and all our friends. Quite frankly I was shitting myself. I was reminded of something someone (I forget who) once told me, that helped a great deal with the nerves. So if you're feeling nervous the next time Russell T Davies rings you up to chat about you writing for Doctor Who, think about this.

What you have to understand about the human body is that it is run by chemicals. When someone holds a knife to your throat, or you stand on the edge of a large drop and the wind blows you off balance, your body produces chemicals that make you sacred and fear for your life. That's because the body interprets these threats as life threatening, and rightly so.

When you receive a phone call from that production company or you're about to enter a meeting with a big time producer, your body will release the same chemicals (albeit in smaller quantities). Your body interprets a threat to your person the same way if a knife is held to your throat or you're about to enter a very important meeting. Only one is actually life threatening but the body doesn't know that. The chemicals that it releases in response to those threats are what make you feel sick.

So you have to train your body to understand the difference between those threats. When you're about to go into that meeting think to yourself, "Yeah, this is scary, but it's NOT going to kill me." Do that every time you come across a scary situation and you'll find that meetings, public speaking, and other scary tasks, will become easier with time. A producer might give you a hard time over your script, but he will hardly pull out a giant knife and slit your throat over it.

Think like that and you'll feel better in no time. Have a good Bank Holiday.

2 comments:

Lucy said...

Little?? LITTLE? I may be small, but I am perfectly formed I'll have you know you cheeky bugger.

Thanks for the advice tho. I'll definitely bear it in mind when Russell T Davies rings, especially since I want to kill HIM for bring back Dr. Who ; ) Kidding.

There is one prob tho - I'm scared of flying because it CAN kill me!!! Haven't you seen that documentary series, LOST??

Dom Carver said...

Sit on top of the black box and you'll survive, they always find those intact.