Sunday, January 21, 2007

Stressed?

We live longer than our forefathers; but we suffer more from a thousand artificial anxieties and cares. They fatigued only the muscles, we exhaust the finer strength of the nerves. ~ Edward George Bulwer-Lytton

I was reading through Readers Digest last night, and came across an article about stress and how to avoid burnout. It had eight simple suggestions and, since I'm a SAHM I naturally applied them toward my writing.

1. Make time for yourself.

My "time" is almost always writing. Sometimes, I watch a little TV that I have on TiVo, but I purposely don't get involved with too many shows. When Mary wrote about her top ten TV shows of 2006, I couldn't even think of ten that I watch.

Still... is taking "me" time for writing always a good thing? Hmmm...

2. Develop a method to calm yourself.

This I'm not so good at. Typically, when something makes me really angry or upset, I walk away before I lash out. Yes. I have a bit of a temper. The article talks about prayer or meditation -- but neither of these things calm me down because it gives me too much time to focus on whatever it was that made me angry. I need to redirect. Maybe on writing!

3. Analyze what you love and hate about your work.

I love that I LOVE writing. Seriously love it. Putting words on paper (or screen, as the case may be), making people come to life. It's like a drug.

I hate that it's so much work to get it right.

3b. Once you've identified problem areas, think of specific strategies to resolve them.

Uh... making writing well less work? No way to resolve that, I imagine. Though I'm told it does get a little easier with time. They're talking about having problems with the boss or a co-worker, etc. Tough to have those problems when you're a business of one.

4. Settle for less than perfect.

Oh, please. I already do. If I waited for "perfect", I'd never submit anything anywhere. I think this is one of the biggest problems for many aspiring authors -- they work at something over and over waiting for it to be "perfect" before they send it off. Fact is, what's "perfect" to you is absolute crap to another. And vice-versa.

5. Take good care of yourself.

* Eat healthy foods. Check!
* Get enough sleep. Uh, little check (I get about 6-7 hours a night)
* Exercise every day. Does running up and down the stairs fifty times a day count? No? Well then, I'm not meeting this one AT ALL.

6. Cultivate a support network.

Woo Hoo! Got one of those (for writing), thank you very much. :-) Of course, my personal one isn't' quite as strong -- mostly because my best friends live w-a-a-a-y the heck out of state. Thank God for email.

7. Set limits.

The sky's the limit, bay-bee. Oh, that's not what you mean?

8. Plan for the future.

Been there, done that. It's all about the future. I even know where I'll have my first booksigning! Build the dream.
So, all in all, I guess I'm not so bad off. Then why do I feel stressed so much of the time? Oh. Yeah. I have a life outside of writing. Now I remember. :-)

Have a great day.

Sometimes it's important to work for that pot of gold. But other times it's essential to take time off and to make sure that your most important decision in the day simply consists of choosing which color to slide down on the rainbow. ~Douglas Pagels, These Are the Gifts I'd Like to Give to You

2 comments:

Tori Lennox said...

but I purposely don't get involved with too many shows. When Mary wrote about her top ten TV shows of 2006, I couldn't even think of ten that I watch.

Except for the ones I peddled and got you hooked on. ;)

Marianne Arkins said...

Tori,

Yeah... "Heroes" is the biggest one. I am utterly hooked... C'mon Monday!! I need a fix!