Friday, February 12, 2010

Under Pressure...

Usually on Fridays I post a fill in the blank or some other type of whimsical nonsense so as not to weigh down already full and exhausted brains on such a crucial day of the week. However, I admit that today I'm not feeling so...creative. Therefore, rather than force a lame Mad Lib-we'll wait. Deal?

Today I want to address that feeling of pressure that we all go through at some point. Pressure from jobs, families, friends, bills, name it. This week, all that pressure seemed to squeeze me too tight and I froze. I stared at my computer screen for a week. I tried to act like a cool cucumber. Instead, I made mistakes like a green squash. Here's an example:
1) I twittered with a lovely woman about my YA-which I was not good at describing or rather comparing to anything-and so the tweety conversation ended soon. I looked up this lovely woman's profile and found she was what? A literary agent. *headsmack*
2) Completely forgot that my daughter's science fair project *YUK* is due in two weeks. Crap.

So, when pressure starts to harm, rather than help you, what are the ways to get it off your back? I would tell you, but then how fun would that be? Of course, I don't know either. :0)

But here's my game plan:
Outline the new plot into my existing manuscript. I had an AHA moment where I realized that I really needed to narrow down the plot, raise the stakes and add a character. I think then, Tunnel Vision will be perfect.

Talk with the people that know my misery, the fellow writers that can give you one more oomph when you think there are none left.

Step away. Step away from it all. Despite the fact that I have to boil water in order to make my bathwater hot enough (long story), I took a long bath last night and just let it go. I said to hell with all of ya. Bills, manuscripts, agents, writers, kids, husbands, grocery stores, phones, email and everything else. I didn't even try to think of fixing anything. Other than my head. Which is always only temporary anyway.

Remove that which is not necessary. This is so much easier said than done. But the hardest thing for me to do is to let go of things I can not change. Why? Don't know, it's a freakin curse. However, I have to. I have to remember that my manuscript will only be ready when I have it ready. Not before. I remind myself that worrying about money/children's futures/end of the world really has no effect on how things will end up. That's really, really hard. It's a control issue.

What are your coping mechanisms?


  1. Oh Kristi do I hear ya loud and clear. I've just been going through the same thing and blew up my blog Tuesday.

    I wish it was all I had to do was boil water to take a bath at my house. I need a good mind-numbing soak.

    To answer your question, I think my coping mechanism is my organizational skills. If the chaos reigns for too long, that's when I really start to plummet. Can't write, can't think, like you babbled incoherently to an agent last week, and the worse part was I had the questions right in front of me. I have to clean, to file, to put all the socks in the sock drawer, make sure all the bowls are nestled together, fold all the towels correctly. It's stupid I know but when I see the linen closet all nice and neat, it's like, nice. I can think again.

    I think when we get like this, we just need to take a break. And not a bath break either, a good 4-5 days, maybe a week. Turn the writing off, so that when we do come back, it's fresh, and hopefully new. Clean the house so that's fresh and shine new as well. I don't know if that's what you want to hear, but that's what helps me.

  2. LOL I only laugh because I do generally clean like a crazy woman when I'm stressed. It's Obsessive...compulsive...but it's not a disorder, NOOOO :0) I agree that it seems when the rest of 'life' is not organized, neither am I. I did very little actual writing of new words this week and a whole lot of just thinking about WHY I'm so stressed. I mean, I know why, but WHY? LOL :0) Thanks for coming by and sharing with me. You did get some delicious danish this morning, right??

  3. I lock myself (only figuratively, as the door has no lock) in my office and read. That's the best form of escape I know!

    PS - And that's probably why I read so much. LOL!

  4. Melissa; smart! My mother used to go in the bathroom to read. LOL She called it her timeout. We would get a little impatient though when it took her an hour to 'use the bathroom' :0)

  5. Kristi -- Yes I got some danish, thanks. Hey, if you've got a second go check out my blog, I wrote something you may appreciate. And I've got eggs benedict on the buffet as a sort of celebrationary thing.

  6. I clean when something really stresses me out, it makes me look crazy but hey that's me! It's like I'm pushing out all the frustration, pain and stress to the counters and floors!

    Then I take a movie star bath... that includes candles, bubbles, and light music... no cats or males allowed... just me time :)

  7. Er, if any of you sressed out housekeepers need a really (I mean seriously!) messy house to clean, feel free to swing by my place ;)

    To answer your questions, Kristi, what I should do is clean this place when I'm stressed. What I do, is drink way too much coke (I typically drink water only) and play some stupid mind-numbing game on the computer. Yesterday I wasted over an hour of my life playing Bejeweled in FB. Ugh. I guess some good did come of it, though. Since no brain power was required, I wrote a scene in my head for my new WIP. The most pivotal scene of the WIP as a matter of fact. Maybe I should go play some Bejeweled now, lol...

  8. Write down all the things that are worrying you. Write them in a notebook, write why they are worries, how they make you feel, what you wish you could do about it...and when you are done, slam that notebook shut and move on. The notebook is a stress dump...and good news, it doesn't answer back. It doesn't say, "You shouldn't feel that way" or "Well, if you think that's bad, guess what happened to me?" It just "listens."

  9. Yeah, we all go through these phases, and doesn't it always seem like everything goes wrong at exactly the same time. LOL. As to what I do, I think it depends, the main thing I do is let go of what I have no control over. I also let the writing or editing go for a little while if things are really stress full. Put on funny movies or tv shows. Laughing helps a lot.

  10. The whole writing gambit seems pretty intense. I don't think I'd like that.

    When things go other than the way I intend them to go and I'm going to snap, I have a private blog that I write in. It keeps me sane. And it makes me laugh when I go back and read the posts later on.

    Best therapy I ever had.

  11. Jen: I love the movie star bath. I used to have those, but alas I'm in a home right now with crappy water pressure so when I try to fill the tub it goes cold by the time it's 1/3 full. So, taking a bath is a lot of work. LOL

    Liza: I used to have one of those's strange that I forget about those. I'll have to start a new one!

    Angelia: I've been catching up on WEEDS and LOST as we speak. LOL
    PJ: It's not so intense if you aren't thinking of trying to publish the whole time. Which is the trap I fall into occasionally. Truly, I love to write and it frees my soul-lets me remember what it's like to be KRISTI, not mom, wife, maid etc.. :) I like the private blog idea. I don't handwrite much of anything anymore.

  12. Oh, Kristi, I feel your pain! I've been having a lot of those moments lately. I try to take long hot showers, drink lots of hot cocoa with extra marshmallows, and read a good book when things are tough. Reading allows me to escape to a different world with a different set of problems and that always puts things in perspective for me:)

  13. This is my coping mechanism, Kristi. I spend way too much time blogging when I'm stressed or nervous, but it reminds me that I'm not alone. It reminds me that successes happen, that friendships can be cemented through cyberspace, that we're all in this "life" stuff together. :-)

  14. Well, everyone who knows me knows I cope well with wine. ;-)

    And, I'm learning that sometimes I have to just say "Bleep-It" and know that tomorrow will come and go and soon whatever is such an issue today won't be the day after tomorrow...does that make sense?

  15. Kristi, stop by my blog! You'll be very happy:)


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