Tag Archives: stress

Writing Through the Pain

thSometimes life is tough. It throws so much crap at you that you can’t see the light of day easily. I have a lot going on in my life right now and there are a lot of stressors…some good, some bad…being inserted into my days. On the good side, I’m getting married next weekend. On the bad side I am experiencing a lot of pain in an ongoing medical issue. I admit it; there are days when it is tough to get out of bed…

For a writer all of this can be magnified by the fact that what we do is such a one person deal. We don’t have a team standing behind us telling us that we can “do it”. For this reason we often have to motivate ourselves. My motivation these days has a lot to do with catching up. The heart attack I experienced earlier in the year but me behind in my responsibilities and so I am now working to get caught up. I have to say that I have had some very supportive people on my side while I do this. The owners of our home come to mind…they are incredible people.

While my current motivation has been the catch up, there are many ways that you, as a writer, can motivate yourself to push through the pain, whether it is emotional or physical. Here are some of the motivations I have learned to use over the years…

·         Remember the passion – Writers who truly are writers have an overwhelming passion when it comes to their craft; remember the passion.

·         It pays the bills – Yes this seems counter artistic but if we are honest those of us who write do so to support ourselves to. Remembering that you are personally responsible for your earning a living helps motivate you.

·         Get lost in the story – Often times I find that if I am lost in the story I tend to forget all the other crap. You are a writer, use your craft to deal with the pain

·         Put everything into perspective – In the long term the pain, emotionally or physically, will pass but your writing endures. Remember to see the big picture.

These are just a few of the motivations I have used over the years to push through the things that are stressing me and my writing. You might have some suggestions of your own…if so, share them. There will still be times when you don’t feel like writing, own that and understand that in these moments your mettle is being tested….so write…and then write some more….

© The Writer’s Advice, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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Posted by on June 9, 2023 in Healthy Writers, Writing


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The Keys to Worry Free Writing


Worry free? Did I say worry free? I’m sorry, I meant the keys to worrying less about your writing because, let’s be honest, there are no “worry free” keys. I don’t know how many columns, blogs and even books I have read over the years that offer “worry free” writing but it must be in the thousands. Each of these resources has come from well-meaning writers who think they hold the holy grail of stress free writing but truth be told you are more likely to find Noah’s Ark than the key to stress free writing.

Writing, by its nature, is stressful. Not OMG-I-work-on-a-high rise-building stress or I-test-the-electric-chairs-for-prisons stress but stress all the same. We are either concerned with making a living at it, making a deadline or coming up with just the right angle on a story to make it sell able. Stress, if you are to be a full-time writer, is written into the unbreakable contract that we all make with the All-knowing Muse of Writers….

There are things, keys if you will, that can at least tone down the stress. Some of them seem simple enough yet many writers I know don’t practice any of them. Here are a few of the keys on my ring…yours may vary because not everything works for every writer, but these are pretty basic.

·         Create a quiet place to create – This seems a no-brainer yet I know writers who still peck away at the local coffee shop. I think a coffee shop writing session is okay from time to time but by and large we need a special quiet place at home.

·         Make sure what you need is within reach – This one waffles depending on who you talk to. When I say “what you need”, I don’t necessarily mean the Twinkie box. (Although if it helps keep it close) I mean supplies, pens if you long-hand it, printer cartridges, paper, coffee…the stuff that helps you do your job. Having to stop work and search is annoying.

·         Where ever you are, be there – Best advice anyone has ever given me for life in general is this one. Often times we sit down to write but our minds are on bills, kids, house work, why the dog insists on linking himself so much…everything other than writing….stop that…be in your writing.

·         Turn off the distractions i.e. e-mail, phone, fax, television, that annoying guy with the ads on Pandora – I swear I spend more time doing other things than I do writing most days. I had to retrain myself not to answer e-mail and the phone during a session. Turn off the distractions for a couple of hours a day…I swear the world will function without you.

·         Don’t take on too much – I have two stories I am editing, one story I am writing and two more that are hounding me to get out…that can cause a lot of stress which will then affect my writing. Concentrate on one or two projects at a time. Currently I am writing one and editing one…I can juggle that.

These are just a few of the rings on my key ring and not all of them work all of the time. There are as many keys as there are writers, you just have to find yours. So remember, there is no “stress free” writing but there are ways to at least hold some of the stress at bay. Grab your whip and chair and tame those things that are stressing you…trust me…you will thank me once you’ve done it.

© The Writer’s Advice, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.


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Ask Me if I am Stressed Just One More Time……

Today has not been a great day. I have a rather large assignment due, my computer is acting like Hal and won’t allow me to do what I need to, the grandkids are being kids, the adults in the house are also being kids, I received a bill in the mail that I didn’t realize I still had….to be honest, if I had a getaway car I’d…well…get away.

Stress is not the writer’s friend. Personally, if I have too much to do I get overwhelmed and my systems begin to shut down. The muse takes a dive and stays down for the count while I sit at the keyboard screaming, “get up, get up you bastard!” At the end of the day I am frustrated, tired and ready to put in an application at the nearest Boobs and Coffee hut. (We have bikini baristas up here in the Pacific Northwest…creepy and amusing, guys don’t actually work at them, they are the creepy leering dudes drinking all the coffee…) Stress, stresses me out!

So what can a writer do when it appears that the whole world is doing its damndest (one of my middle son’s words…) to throw a monkey wrench into your writing time? Well, the first thing you have to do is tell yourself, stop! I have to stop writing, stop yelling at folks, stop mindlessly trying to continue writing, just walk away for a minute, take three deep breathes, put the gun (marshmallow) down and sit back down at my desk.

With everything coming at me at breakneck speed, it is hard to grab ahold of even one item and put a stranglehold on it….so stop. Once you have stopped, make a list of the crap you are currently dealing with and then deal with each thing one at a time. When you write down the list it focuses your mind on one thing at a time thus making sure that your muse doesn’t trip over the grandkids and the bills while trying to avoid the adult children in the house while trying to finish that project…when you put too much fish in a barrel, you really can’t do anything with them but shoot them…(that’s why it so easy…never thought of that huh?) You have to get the fish out of the barrel one at a time; the list helps you do that.

There are going to be stressful days when you are trying to write because life happens and sometimes it happens all over the place…the best you can do is to deal with the stressors one at a time. So if your day is going like mine, and your spouse has just announced that they didn’t take anything out for dinner and, oh by the way, they need an extra $200 for the graduating kid…make that list. The most you will accomplish is being able to take care of the stressors one at a time and the least you will have is a hit list of sorts. (using the marshmallow gun of course…)

© The Writer’s Advice, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.


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Break for Harried Writer…Wait Was that a Speed Bump?

Today was a stressful day. I am trying to write a book, working on freelance stuff, corralling two grandchildren, trying to clean the house and worried about whether or not I will be able to afford my 18 year olds graduation party. To say that I would rather be laying on a beach somewhere reading a comic book would be an understatement. I would like to own that beach, thank you very much.

I know that life happens but what I have to determine is whether or not I’m going to allow it to happen all over me. Most people don’t get us writers. They think that we should have no problem at all pecking away at the keyboard while kids cry, binkies get flushed down the toilet (Yes that actually happened at my house today), teenagers talk back and the bank account runs dry. It’s just writing after all, right? Wrong.

I need my brains full attention if I am to be creative. I need to not worry about the potential plumbing bill that little binkie might cost me. I need to be able to write without having to stop and decide whether or not I’ll survive my daughter’s teenage years. (Although I am pretty sure I won’t) I need a little quiet for just a little while in order to do the writing that pays the bills when the toilet backs up and the teenager needs therapy. (or rather when I do) So what do you do when you live in a house where all hell is breaking loose? Today, I grabbed my iPad and I went for a drive. I found a park and I gloriously wrote for an hour straight…no binkies, no teens, no graduating students, no phone…just me and my writing. I found a way to carve out a little time.

Life will get in the way for most writers. I am sure that, at your house, you have your own little version of, wow-I’m-sure-we-are-a-sitcom-for-an –alien-race-somewhere. This is oddly normal if you are human. (Which at times makes me wish I were an aardvark) The only true answer to this dilemma is to steal some time. Steal it in a park, at the beach or even in a local hotel room, but steal it….sometimes it is the only way. Life happens…but writing has to happen too.


© The Writer’s Advice, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.


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It was Stress in the Parlor with a Wrench

Stress is a killer. I know… I know…everyone knows that too much stress can have bad effects on your ticker. Here’s the thing…it can also have a devastating effect on your writing.

Stress of any kind sucks. There are the normal stressors that come with the craft. Am I going to be done on time? Is my story crap? Are all my characters card board cutouts….and then there is life. Am I going to be able to pay the bills? Is my wife sleeping with the creepy neighbor who keeps driving by the house slowly? Are my kids gonna grow up to be serial killers? Life, to some degree, feeds on stress. Kids, the job, a spouse, bills, yard work, not enough alcohol in the house (okay maybe not the last one)…it all feeds into itself until you want to drink a lot of tequila and dance naked on the roof. I wouldn’t suggest the tequila and nakedness….because that is usually followed shortly by the sound of a slamming jail cell door, thus adding even more stress… Here are some suggestions that I have collected over the years because I am horrible about stressing. Maybe they will help you.

  • Take time for yourself – Away from the computer, away from everyone. As a writer, you need time to decompress. This is currently advice I need to take myself.
  • Eat right – Now when I say eat right I don’t mean go run out to the store and buy every fruit in the place. I mean eat three meals a day and keep your internal fuel burner stoked. If you are tired that adds to the stress.
  • Set boundaries – Sit down with the family and explain what your need…time…to…write. One of my largest stressors is finding the time to work on my novels. Sometimes that’s due to my freelance work and sometimes it’s the family. Talk to people; explain that you need their support. I find that often times when a fellow writer tells me that he/she is blocked it’s because their family is demanding more than they have and they haven’t even talked to them about it. You’ll be surprised at how supportive the spouse and kids are once you have “The Talk”.

Right now, in my household I have:

  • A spouse who is a nurse and works 10+ hours a day
  • An 18 year old son about to graduate high school who is doing the oh-my-god-what-do-I-do-after-high school thing.
  • An 11 year old daughter who is four months from 12 and already showing signs of rebellion. (Disney channels do not help, but that is a whole other column)
  • A 23 year old rebound child who has moved in for a “few months” with a wife and two of my grandchildren – 8 months and 2 years old.
  • A rescue greyhound, a bearded dragon and a cat who thinks he runs it all.

Life in our household is anything but un-stressful. It is for these reasons that I have to set boundaries, stay healthy and take time to myself. Granted I haven’t figured out just how to do all that just yet, but, I’m working on it. My writing has suffered admittedly. Stress is a fact of life but how you deal with it is entirely up to you. The important thing is to “deal with it”. So take a moment to take stock of what is going on in your life and distress…your writing depends on it.


© The Writer’s Advice, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.


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