Is Stress Keeping You from Writing that Best Seller?

My guest blogger today is Kathy Stemke, freelance writer, educator, and author of Moving Through All Seven Days.

by Kathy Stemke

If you’re like me, my first instincts when stress attacks are to eat, worry, complain, or completely withdraw.  This reaction just paralyzes me, makes me unhappy and prevents me from writing.  So what’s a writer to do?

I offer you a list of stress breakers that may just get you in the mood to write.

  • Ask, “In the ETERNAL scheme of things, will this problem be of ANY importance?”  Answer, “No, probably not.”
  • Pray.
  • Make someone’s day.
  • Choose your attitude.
  • Play and Be There
  • Get out of the house and spend time with some friends, basically expand your world a little bit so your world is not so small.
  • Count to a certain number.
  • Meditate.
  • Splash water on your face.
  • Take a bubble baths with low lights and read a good book.
  • Put a washcloth in hot water and add fragrant oil. Wring the cloth and lay it on your face.
  • Go for a walk.
  • Sing.
  • Squeeze a stress ball.
  • Punch or throw pillows at the wall.
  • Think of funny stuff.
  • Write about your feelings. Journal, journal, and journal some more.
  • Listen to relaxing music.
  • Draw a story.
  • Use progressive muscle relaxation (or PMR). It is a technique for reducing anxiety by alternately tensing and relaxing the muscles. It was developed by American physician Edmund Jacobson in the early 1920s. Jacobson argued that since muscle tension accompanies anxiety, one can reduce anxiety by learning how to relax the muscular tension.  PMR entails a physical and mental component.

The physical component involves the tensing and relaxing of muscle groups over the legs, abdomen, chest, arms and face. With the eyes closed and in a sequential pattern, a tension in a given muscle group is purposefully done for approximately 10 seconds and then released for 20 seconds before continuing with the next muscle group.

The mental component focuses on the difference between the feelings of the tension and relaxation. Because the eyes are closed, one is forced to concentrate on the sensation of tension and relaxation.  Because of the feelings of warmth and heaviness are felt in the relaxed muscle after it is tensed, a mental relaxation is felt as a result. Jacobson also found that the relaxation procedure is effective against ulcers, insomnia, and hypertension.

  • If all else fails, keep a supply of small size chocolates handy.  These really do help you de-stress.

Now write that next best seller and send me a signed copy, please. Can you add to this list?

Author/Educator, Kathy Stemke, has a B.S. from Southern Connecticut State University and Covenant Life Seminary, and graduate coursework from Columbia University. As a freelance writer Kathy has published several articles and is a contributing editor for The National Writing for Children’s Center. She is also part of the team at DKV Writing 4U, a full service writing company.

Moving Through All Seven Days, her first e-book, is now available on Lulu, while Trouble on Earth Day and Sh, Sh, Sh will the Baby Sleep are slated to come out in 2011.

Kathy Stemke’s websites and blogs:

Educationtipster blog- Sign up for her free monthly newsletter, Movement and Rhythm, here.

Moving Through all Seven Days ebook purchase here:


Writing Services:
If you’d like to read another author on tour tomorrow, check out Dallas Woodburn featuring Karen Cioffi, author, ghostwriter, freelance writer, blogger and on the team of DKV Writing 4 U

And don’t forget to scroll down to my blog from yesterday to check out the Blog Hop. Thanks for visiting!

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14 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Kathy:

    Fantastic article with wonderful tips. Definite positive ways of dealing with stress.

    Warm regards,

  2. Kathy, great stress breakers! I think of my grandsons and I just smile. Two, three, and four are my favorites.

  3. I agree that stress and fear are big factors in being unable to write. It seems to strange to fear success, but many of us do. I think many of us fear, even if we’ve had some success in finishing a work or having something published, that we’ll never be able to do that again!

  4. Thanks for hosting me, Heidi. thanks for your comments Karen, Donna & Heidi. My favorites are 1-5! And of course, eating chocolate.

  5. Wow – what a great, and unusual article Kathy. You don’t outright say it, but I think you make a powerful connection between fear and stress and they way in which they can combine to stop us from writing altogether – eg the stress of having to achieve. One of the best techniques I’ve found is deep breathing. Just in and out through the nose making as much noise as possible. Do it while you’re actually writing and it will take the mind off the fear of failure and force you to just keep typing – turning off that critical lizard in the brain.

  6. I love the ways of dealing with stress. Good advice, Kathy — particularly the chocolates!!

  7. Thanks Nancy and Magdalena. Actually, you’re right, I do link fear and stress. i’ll try the deep breathing while writing.

  8. The critical lizard–that’s a good one!
    And I too, like the chocolates the best!

  9. Kathy,great suggestions. I’m going to go try a couple right now. 🙂

  10. Great tips as always. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Kathy,
    love the suggestions. I think I’ll go try some right now.:-)

  12. Thanks for the stress-buster hints. It’s important to find a way to cope.

  13. Thanks for your comment Mary. I’m now following your blog.

    Thanks Virginia and Martha for your continued support.

  14. Great stress busters. I’m defintely going to try some of them.

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