Monday, September 23, 2013

Stress and Writing

It's no secret that I've been a little overwhelmed lately. Physically, mentally, emotionally. It's been one of those months where I swear I've been put on some kind of hit list at my job and my body just wants to give up on me. The kind where all I really want to do is eat my weight in chocolate, drink a bottle of wine a day and sleep for fourteen hours at a time. You know what kind of stress I'm talking about....

I've been trying to keep it all together and not let the feeling that I'm drowning every time I take a breath affect my writing. I'm staying mostly on schedule with writing the first draft of my latest novel, but always, in the back of my mind, is the worry that I'm somehow letting all the stress ruin the writing. Which, of course, stresses me out even more and thus the vicious cycle continues.

Last night I couldn't sleep because I was obsessing over theme development in my book and then today was an especially hard day at work. This afternoon, I caught myself staring vacantly into the fridge for about five minutes without even realizing it, as if I somehow I would be able to subconsciously find the answers to all my problems hidden behind a half empty jar of pickles and a Tupperware of leftover gluten free spaghetti. I closed the refrigerator and suddenly it hit me: maybe I can USE these feelings in my writing. Maybe I can cash in on the frustration, anger and desolate sense of helplessness. I mean, those are perfect emotions for the characters I write about- why not let the stress work for me instead of worry about it so much?

This is probably easier said than done, but it's my new goal. If any writers out there have suggestions on how exactly to do this, I'd love to hear your thoughts. The stress isn't going away (any time soon, it seems) and the writing isn't going away (ever), so I've got to figure out how to make peace between the two. Wish me luck.

 
I don't want to be stressed out... I want to be like Vegas and not have a care in the world....
 

8 comments:

  1. Stress is my middle name! I've found that exercise (cardio in particular) reduces the negative impact of stress. Exercise isn't for everyone. But for me, it really helps take the edge off and clear my mind. I get some of my best ideas for writing while I'm out for a walk.

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    1. I agree with you- some of my best ideas come from when I'm out walking one of the dogs. Glad you reminded me of this... :)

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  2. Allow time to relax over a good television comedy; play with your lovable little pooch; read a book. You deserve a break, even if it's just a short one. The ideas will come to you when you stop thinking about your situation and your writing.

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  3. Hi. The thing that comes to my mind when I think of di/stress is PTSD and the evidence that supports the use of tabletop role-playing (that collaborative story game) in therapy. Writing is a solitary task so I am not sure how that stacks up against the stress you're feeling. You're not in the PTSD category but writing is not role-playing they're only close proximities. Maybe it is as Kathy says: you a Herrick moment to gather a few rosebuds for yourself? Maybe that was what you were searching for in your fridge?

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    1. Hmm... not sure I'm quite up to PTSD level yet, but I agree with you about the rosebuds (and maybe that Was what I was looking for in the fridge...?)

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  4. I wrote and then I hit the damn sign out button! I'll try again...Have your tried to write out your stress in a journal? It helps me and many others. Name your emotions and write about them, even with dialogue.
    Mid-August and all of Sept have been hard on so many writers/artists...something in the air. You are not the only one.
    Sending peace your way.

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    1. Thank you so much! I'll agree- writing in my journal, where I don't have to think about my words, they are allowed to just flow free, definitely helps with the stress.

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Thanks for your comments!