Thursday, September 8, 2011

When Life Gets in the Way

There are times when life gets in the way. It doesn't matter if you work at home, at an office, or in a factory. Life intrudes sometimes preventing you from showing up to do your job. Frankly, I don't mind taking an occasional sick day from the day job to watch over my children/husband/dog.
But these sick breaks don't just effect my job in the lab, they also effect my writing.
You see the romance genre isn't just about the Happily Every After, it is about the emotion--love, arousal, and acceptance.
To write while under emotional stress is a lot like taking the cap off a hot radiator. It's liable to blow up (literally) in your face and lead to a painful recovery. So how do I cope?
Lately, I've set myself writing goals for the month. It works out to 5 pages a day, but because my life is quite hectic, I give myself permission to take days off. Sometimes this means I'll write 95 pages in the last week of the month. Other times, I'll write four days a week then none on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. This gives me the flexibility to deal with the other matters without stressing myself out.
Another way I deal with stress is moving about. Okay, I do this at work so I'm well aware that it looks funny, but I'll either hike up and down the stairs once a half hour or do ten lunges at my desk. Movement helps and both my day job and night job are pretty sedentary.
I also drink plenty of water. Did you know staying hydrated actually helps fight stress? Drinks with sugars/electrolytes/etc inside them tend to be viewed as food stuffs by the body, so it takes a bit longer to be absorbed. Try this trick: hold the liquid in your mouth for about thirty seconds, allowing it to touch the soft palate. What effect does it have on you?
Conscious breathing also helps. Inhale through the nose to the slow count of four, hold for two seconds, then exhale through the mouth for a slow count of four. By focusing solely on this counting, your conscious mind will allow the subconscious mind to look at the problem.
Talking to others about the stressors also helps. But be careful, we have people in our lives who are solvers. They will take your problem and present you with solutions. Which is good in a way, but sometimes, you just need to vent without judgment.
And lastly, my favorite way to deal with stress is to read a book. I write what I like to read and romance may twist my emotions but I know I'll get that happily ever after in the end.
And that is usually just the right boost I need to put things in perspective.


Karyn Good said...

September is always a busy month and comes with it's share of stresses. As do most months! Thanks for the practical advice. I will definitely try the the breathing technique and am on my way for a glass of water!

Author Kathryne Kennedy said...

Great tips and advice, Linda! Thank you so much for sharing!