Thursday, April 22, 2010

What's the SENSE of stressing?

Christina Katz, of the Prosperous Writer had an article in her ezine this week about staying grounded. The question she asked her readers was what keeps you grounded?

In my daily life, grounding comes in the form of short periods of quiet time throughout my day. I actually enjoy the 45 minute commute to and from work during my work week. I take this time to listen to The Secret, an audio book by Rhonda Byrne, if I am in an introspective mood. On the days my mood is more whimsical; I will listen to A Christmas Story by Jean Shepherd. My mp3 player has playlists such as Jazz, Easy Listening, and rhythmic Zumba tunes. I have playlist for every mood or situation. One of my favorites is a playlist encompassing many genres and dedicated to songs about Rain!

My day begins at 6 am and ends on most days at 10 pm (even on weekends. I have dogs that need to go out!) My job in a small IT department for a large company can be stressful at times. My days are comprised of many phone calls, meetings, projects, repairing computers and requests from users. Keeping a to-do list, utilizing software specific for my job, organizing my inbox, and using Evernote, helps keep me on track. Evernote syncs with my Iphone and allows me to access critical data without starting my laptop. As I move about our facility and speak with computer users during the day, I type any notes, requests, or comments into my phone and then sync it with my laptop later. I have a playlist entitled music without words that I play softly in my office, fragrant scented oils and a live plant to make my office more appealing to me.

I often check daily writing prompts before the workday begins. I contemplate these prompts during the walks from office building to office building or when installing software packages takes a long time. The ideas that spring from these prompts are later fodder for my evening writing or jotted in my little idea notebook for later use. A lively Zumba class with friends three times a week also relieves stress.

I am interacting with computers in some way all throughout my day. There are emails that require action or response and machines that must be opened and repaired. Questions requiring research or prompt answers. All of these are part of my daily routine and by utilizing all of the tools at my disposal in an effective way, I can combat stress. At 4 o’clock each weekday afternoon a reminder on my phone alerts me that it is time to finish projects, clean work areas, and gather the necessities for a productive tomorrow at work.

I tackle the anxiousness of fulfilling the creative side of my life by completing at least 750 words a day at the website These words may be totally random, a rant about some frustration, a short story, a memory or most often scene and character ideas. As I use specialized software for my work day, I use writing software to keep my creative ideas in order and flowing. Completing these 750 words gives me a daily accomplishment, whether I have worked on my WIP or not. This process leaves me calmer, more focused and often inspires me to open my software and add notes, ideas and even dialogue. Making time to read one of the 8 books beside my bed before I go to sleep also keeps me grounded. Taking a few minutes to write about the high points of the day, the things I am grateful for and even my hopes and dreams ends my day on a peaceful note.

To maintain a productive creative life, I depend on tools such as blogs, ezines, workshops, twitter, chats, and email groups. The successes of others are there not to compare myself with but to learn from. Someday, somewhere, somebody might learn something from me. I am grateful for others who take the time to post links they have found or blog about a technique that works for them. Just as I interact daily with IT peers, these tools allow me the opportunity to interact with other writers both new and experienced.

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