Tag Archives: stress


Well, somewhat.

I had an appointment with a cardiologist yesterday and he cleared me – no stress test needed.  Happy happy happy day!

The countdown has begun – only 16 more shifts at my current job. Just having made up my mind to not go with the new company has relieved most of my stress. Now if my doctor would just get back to me with when I can pick up my physical form…

And with the stress starting to fade away my energy has started to come back.

Yesterday I planted some tree lily bulbs, Dutch iris bulbs, and some other kind of bulbs that my mother thinks are some kind of lily. I also planted some chocolate mint and regular mint.

This gives me hope that my will to write will come back soon too, so I can do something about these plot bunnies that are nibbling away at my mind.

Meanwhile, I still have other stuff to plant, and some columbine to pry out from between the bricks in the retaining wall and transplant to my garden.

And lots of other craft stuff to keep me occupied.  (Not to mention the Kindle app on my phone.)

And I only have three weeks to decide what I’m doing for Camp. I should work on Onyx Sun or the Elven Bard novel.  But doing one thousand words for 31 different plot bunnies sounds like fun too.  And then there’s the werewolf thing that’s preying on the edges of my mind. It has some characters (without names) and a scene or two, but no real plot. Of course, I have 3 weeks to flesh it out. But I should work on Onyx Sun or the Elven Bard novel…

I hate being undecided.

Or, rather, I hate being decided on too many things – I want to write them all! Right now!

Sadly, I have to go to work.

Sixteen more shifts.



Filed under writing

The Stress Factor

I’m pretty sure everyone has heard of The Fudge Factor, but if you haven’t (or have never heard it defined) The Fudge Factor is any number which when added to, subtracted from multiplied by, or divided into the number you got gives you the number you should have gotten.

The Stress Factor is something that I just made up. It is any event (or series of events) which when added to or multiplied by the stress you already have gives you more stress than you can deal with.

In that case, of course, the first instinct is to retreat.

We’ve had a lot of that in the last month and a half or so, and I — a lot of us — have been retreating.

And then we’ve found other ways to deal and get ourselves back on track.

And then something else happens.

Anyone remember those big bowling pin shaped punching bags that you knocked down and they bounced back up?  That’s pretty much how I’m feeling lately.

And that’s not a bad thing: knock me down and I bounce back up. And if you’re not careful I’ll bop you on the head.

But sometimes, before you bounce back up, you need to retreat, to find something to do to lessen the effects of The Stress Factor until you can find your feet (and your balance) again.

A long time ago (before personal computers were common) I used to paint D&D figurines to retreat from work stress.  I showed one to a co-worker once and she asked how I could do that after a stressful day at work.  I replied that it helped with the stress because all of my attention was focused on the end of a very fine (sometimes only a couple bristles) paintbrush and everything else was just pushed away.  I don’t think she got it.

Now, though, I do jigsaw puzzles.

I am a jigsaw puzzle addict. I always have been.  I’ve been known to ignore chocolate cake with peanut butter icing while working on a jigsaw puzzle.  I don’t really have any place here to set up a table for a one, so I’ve been spending a lot of time on JigZone lately.

Jigsaw puzzles (physical or computerized) don’t require much thought, just a focus on color and shape. Focusing on a puzzle (I like the harder cuts) lets me get my conscious mind off of the day’s Stress Factor so that my subconscious can deal with it.

(And, okay, JigZone provides an unhealthy dose of procrastination, too.)

So, what does everyone else do to procras regroup from stress?


Filed under writing

Stress and the Art of Novel Maintenance

First off, if you haven’t read Zen and Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig, you probably should. It’s a cool book, which has nothing to do with Zen or motorcycle maintenance.  (Or, in the words of the author himself, the book “should in no way be associated with that great body of factual information relating to orthodox Zen Buddhist practice. It’s not very factual on motorcycles, either.”)

But anyhow…

Unlike Zen and Art of Motorcycle Maintenance this post has much to do with stress and novel maintenance. Or novel writing maintenance.  Whatever.

I’ve had enough stress lately to last me for the rest of my life.

Some of it has eased, and hopefully by this time next week another part of it will have disappeared (but I’m not holding my breath). That will leave only one major stressor and that, I think, I can live with, at least for a while. (I’m trying for “through the end of the year” but we’ll see.  Of course, job hunting is its own stress factory, so…)


Life is slowly settling back into some semblance of normal. Or the new normal. Whatever.

What that means is that my writing life can also get back into some semblance of normal. (Whatever “normal” means to a writer.  I have the feeling that that definition varies wildly. I’m not even sure I can define it for myself on any given day.)

Stress is a natural part of life.  There is good stress and there is bad stress, but stress there is.  And even good stress can sap your energy after a while.

And my stresses have been… not good.

But that is changing!

(Change is also a stressor, even good change.)

With the reduction in stress comes an increase in writing and writing related things. (Like that “E” word. Or the “R” word.) (Editing and Revision. You figure out which is which.)

Come to think of it, E and R are stressors as well.

Where was I going with this?

(See what stress does? It eats holes in your brain.  Or at least in your attention span.)

I just haven’t felt much like writing lately.

I have been writing, though. Unfortunately I’ve been working on a new old story (the opening scene has been kicking around for a while and I finally decided to start it) instead of an existing novel. But hey, it’s words.  And it’s fun. And I’m curious to see where it goes.

Or working on revisions for Onyx Sun or entering changes from the first round paper edits of Book Four of The Academy of the Accord. (And, no, I still haven’t figured out what my note about the note was about.)

And I have been getting more and more little bits of ideas. (Ideas related to the above, not to new plot bunnies.)

For instance, yesterday morning I had a burst of bathtub inspiration for a bit of a fleshing out in Onyx Sun.  By the time I got to sit down and type it up, however, I’d pretty much forgotten what it was — all I could remember was that I’d had this great idea.  Fortunately I was able to piece together what I was going to do and work it into the book — mostly. I haven’t quite figured out how to work in the second part of the idea.

Oh! Or maybe I have! Ha! Off to leave myself a note on how to fix it.





Filed under writing