Monday, March 30, 2015


S T R E S S  is a very popular term and topic of worry and conversation today, isn't it!  We stress about stress from morning waking to (maybe) illusive sleep at night.  I've read more than one poll that found people go on vacation hoping to be relieved from stress and return home more stressed than when they left. (An amazing 40 plus percent said this in one poll.)

I have a solution. Become a writer--even part time.

So, what is it about being a writer that can relieve stress?.  In my own experience, at least, gaining ideas to write about takes "downtime," and that down time is filled with what? Thinking.  Does thinking require physical activity?  Nope. One must sit back and clear the mind. Now I admit clearing the human mind takes discipline. Much of thinking can be buzz, comprised of past experiences, concerns about current and future experiences, grief-joy-chores-will he?-should I--. Well, you know the list inside your own head.

But, let's say you are a writer. Then, of course, you must write about something. (Well, duh!) You can, while leaving behind outside distractions, focus on ideas to write about. Non-fiction? What are you going to tell your readers? What do you know for sure?  Fiction? Even more stress relief. You begin to live with characters and story, creating them in your mind. These are not your problems, not your life. These are lives you are creating, and to do this, all the other garbage has to be swept away while you invent lives that may, indeed, have stress, but it is not your stress, and you are probably going to solve whatever causes stress for these people anyway. You have got to mentally let go of the outside world to create the world you are inside of and writing about. You are in control. 

Advice about stress relief often includes getting away from the daily work routine and taking time off in a new place (mountain cabin, ocean-side hotel, cruise) to do nothing, even when all kinds of activities tempt you. Walking, not talking or texting; sitting, looking, thinking.  Leave all the tech stuff behind. Can you divorce yourself temporarily from your smart phone?  And for goodness' sake, skip the computer games, and all hand-held "entertainment." One writer calls this digital detox. 

So, not all of us can get away like this. But hey, we can write! Sure, we aren't hiking a mountain or looking at sea waves in actuality, but we can do it in our minds.  Okay, it takes some bit of technology to record our ideas and stories, but skip all the rest. Turn off the cell phone. Tell all you are busy writing so need quiet time. Believe me, family and friends--who probably have a well-schooled notion of what being a writer is like--(a bit odd) will most likely accept this as typical of a writer. 

So, what do you think? Can you make this work for you? Do you dare try?  You know what I think, and now, I need to get back into Chapter 34 in my novel in progress. I have already spent quite a bit of time staring into space, thinking only about my story. Stress for the story people? You bet. But they are the "other" and I will now be sitting happily at my desk, telling about their problems, which certainly are not mine, and cause me no personal stress.

So, what's your story?  Dump the rest and write it.


Morgan Mandel said...

Yes and no, about writing helping stress. It can get a writer away from what's happening in real life, but if when I write I get so much into my character's head I feel the stress my character feels. There's also the stress about getting a story written just right, then the stress of how well the book will sell.
Still, I can't seem to stop writing!

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Good post. Stress for me is usually when I have to many things to do that I can't get to my writing.

Jean Henry Mead said...

Excellent post! Writing can help to overcome the stress of grief. I immersed myself in writing when my daughter died of cancer nearly eight years ago, becoming a full time novelist instead of a part-timer, although I had previously worked full-time as a news reporter. And as you know, Radine, working as a journalist is a very stressful job.

John Cena said...

Finally I have found something which helped me.Appreciate it!
stress relief