Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Stress and Writing

Jennifer reposts something from her personal blog

Oh, the pressure to write these blog posts when there are so many things I don’t want to discuss or think about or talk about anymore. But writing is cathartic and helps alleviate stress.

The good thing about being under stress is that I’m learning what sets me off and what calms me down. As my husband will be sure to point out, just because I know what calms me down doesn’t mean I’m any good at actually taking advantage of it. J But at least identifying things is a good start.

I’m very good at giving advice to others to calm down and not stress about things. Advice is easy to give. It takes you outside of yourself, outside of the situation and makes it easier to stay objective. And it’s almost impossible to stress about something objectively. Try it!

I’ve tried making lists and working my way through them. That works to some extent, although the length of the lists, and the sub-lists that are created, are a bit daunting. But lists let me think I’m in control, even when I’m so clearly not.

What I’ve found works best is diversion. Walking the dog, when the weather cooperates, is great. It lets my brain relax. I can make up stories in my head, think about other things, or just drift off and admire the view.

When the weather doesn’t cooperate, I write. Not here and not about what bothers me. I write and edit my stories. I disappear into my characters’ lives, which I can control. I forget about everything pressing down on me and I create a “happily ever after” for them. I ignore me for a while.

I didn’t think I’d get much writing done, because I’ve always wanted to concentrate, to have the circumstances be just right. But I’ve learned to be flexible. I’ve learned to focus my concentration on what is on my screen and what my fingers are doing, rather than on my surroundings or the many “what ifs” in my head. And it seems to be working. I’m flying through pages and pages of edits. I’m rewriting scenes and creating new ones.

I wouldn’t recommend this state of mind for writers, or anyone, on a regular basis, but as a temporary thing, it seems to be working. We’ll see what comes out of it and in the meantime, I’m looking ahead and waiting for everything to pass.



  1. It's the lists that do it for me. Just having the thought out there of 'a million things to do' stresses me out a lot. But if I organize things and then check them off as I accomplish them, I find the stress level is less.

  2. Yes, I'm a big list person too, Debra. There's something very satisfying about crossing things off.

  3. If it's any consolation, I've found the stresses lessen the older you get! I'm far more laid back about most things than I used to be when I was younger :-)

  4. Paula, every response I think of to your comment makes it sound like I'm making fun of your age, which I'm not. So, I'll just say, "Good!" :)

  5. I think we have to learn to focus, and practice relaxing. Jen, if you are that able to lose yourself in your characters, then you are doing great, IMO.

    I agree, Paula. I think our experiences eventually teach us that fussing over things rarely makes them turn out any differently.

    Debra, I am a listie, too. Sanity is a list, Happiness is a checked off list.

    BTW, I just reserved Feb 14 for a Friday Friend guest.