Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Writer De Stress

By Tawny Weber

I thought I’d discuss a health issue we writers face today that may or may not be weight related.


Yes, we definitely have stress in life, regardless of if we write or not. But writing adds is own special brand of stress to the mix.

Submissions: Whether we’re published or not, we write to be read. It could be the idea of submitting to a friend, to a critique partner, to an editor or an agent. They all carry stress.

Readers: This goes hand in hand with submissions. We want feedback on our writing, or to know we reached readers. Sometimes the feedback is great. But sometimes the feedback comes in the form of rude contest comments, rejection letters or snarky reviews. And we never know which it’ll be. That’s a major stressor.

Deadlines: One of the biggest joys of being a writer is having a contract. But one of the stresses of having a contract is the deadline. If we’re serious about writing as a career, I truly believe we have to treat it like a career, with responsibility, goals and care. But at the same time, writing a book is a creative art, so calling it up at will can definitely be a source of stress.

So with all of these stresses that writing adds to regular life stress, how do we stay healthy. Here are my Four Fab Writer De-Stressors:

1. Meditate. Its proven to lower stress levels and bring a sense of peace and calm into your life.

2. Sleep. Whatever your body needs, whether it's 4, 6 or 8 hours – get it as many nights a week as you can to keep your stress levels under control.

3. Eat Healthy. Sugars and fats slow down the body, adding to the current stress levels. Healthier foods offer energy as well as helping to keep the body healthy to achieve all the work necessary to write.

4. Exercise. Exercise is a proven stress release. Not only does it keep the body in shape, it releases pent-up frustrations as well as creating those really cool feel-good hormones!

How about you? Do you have any great stress release ideas?

Today's progress:

Calorie intake: 1,482

Exercise: 45 minutes walking around the grocery store

Steps: 11,153


Michelle Butler on October 15, 2009 at 11:07 AM said...

Exercise tends to work well for me. Another big way I de-stress is to lose myself in a great book. That may not work so well for writing stress.

Can you tell us more about your meditation practices? I always hear about how helpful it is, but I can't get over the idea that it's a waste of time.

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) on October 15, 2009 at 1:16 PM said...

When it's cold, I like to walk on the treadmill while reading. I'm all about the multitasking, even while de-stressing. :)

Tawny on October 15, 2009 at 1:55 PM said...

Doh, I totally spaced my all-time favorite destressing prescription!!! Reading.

Although Michelle, your point is a great one. I'm always hesitant to read much in terms of romance fiction while I'm on deadline. Mostly to keep my own characters strong in my mind.

Michelle Butler on October 15, 2009 at 3:19 PM said...

I once read an interview with Tina Turner in which she said she did not own a tv or radio because watching/listening to either was not relaxing. Movies, tv shows, music, even theater (as in plays) reminded her of work, so she read to relax in her spare time. I thought that was interesting.

Some times reading reminds me of my writing responsibilities - but not always. I still have to read something for fun every week to be a happy, healthy person (something I learned during the misery of grad school). It just might be a biography, memoir, history book instead of fiction - or a different genre/subgenre from what I'm trying to write.

At a health clinic in college, I answered a "how do you handle stress/destress" question on a health questionaire with "reading romance novels." It gave the nurse practitioner the laugh of her day. :)

Tawny on October 15, 2009 at 7:37 PM said...

Michelle, I'm with you - I still have to read. I have to read every day, its like breathing. But like you, I don't read what I'm writing at the time I'm writing it *g*

It could be non fiction, it could be self help, it could be fantasy or sci fi or even YA, as long as I'm reading.

I don't relax much with TV either, nor radio. I love the music, but go for the iPod more often because I'm a major non-commercial fan LOL

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) on October 15, 2009 at 8:34 PM said...

Tawny, I'm right there with the non-commercial-ness. That's why I love whoever invented the TiVo.

Michelle, funny about giving the nurse a chuckle.

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