Coping: What To Do When Life's Too Much

Wednesday, March 26, 2014
First, a note. This is not the blog post I had planned to write. It was inspired by Margo’s post, Book Birthdays, Sick Kids, and Selling the House. She asked what we do when we feel overwhelmed by our good fortune. How do you cope when there is just too much going on in our personal lives and our writing careers?

Here is what works for me:

  1. Admit you are overwhelmed. Good things, bad things, it doesn’t matter. Stress is stress and writing moms can only handle so much. Let your partner know that you are at your wits end. Seriously. My husband will pitch in and take over any number of tasks – if I ask. Otherwise, he buys into my Superwoman routine and assumes I’m coping just fine. Spot someone who will help, give them something to do, and . . .
  2. Let them do it. This means not micromanaging or insisting that something be done your way. When I’m up against a deadline, my fifteen-year-old will make dinner. I taught him to cook about five years ago and at fifteen I’ll let him take charge. He’s baked Christmas cookies, made pasta for lunch and even brings me chocolate when things get intense. Whether the task at hand is decorating for your book launch or putting a meal on the table, let someone else do what they can.
  3. Turn the electronics off. Between our computers, tablets and I-phones it is way too easy to be connected 24/7. For this reason, I don’t have an I-phone. I don’t do e-mail on Sundays. And when I go out of town? Yep, I’m gone. The lake we visit in Southern Missouri has truly wonky connectivity. In the winter, you can get a cell phone signal anywhere in the lodge and at our cabin. When the trees are leafed out, you can still sometimes get service at the lake. At the lodge, you have to stand on the roof of an SUV or pick-up or stand in one square foot space in the parking lot. When I’m on vacation, I’m truly out of touch. Three days without e-mail can be a glorious thing.

Good time, bad times. They can both be stressful. When it happens, ask for help, accept help and periodically disconnect to recharge. What you do to recharge will depend on you. I read and knit and walk, walk, walk. What do you do to recharge?


Find out more about Sue Bradford Edwards’ writing at her blog,One Writer's Journey. Sue also teaches our course, Writing Nonfiction for Children and Young Adults. The next session of this course is scheduled to begin on April 7.


BECKY said...

Great post! And it's something we all need to remember from time to time.

Marcia Peterson said...

All three are really great tips, Sue. The one about turning off/setting aside electronics is so helpful for just getting things done is general (as well as staying sane during down time)!

Unknown said...

Very good. Turning electronics off-- why is that so hard? Such a weird addiction!

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

Thank you for the comments! I'm not sure why electronics are so hard to put down but it is definitely essential if you really want to take a break. Otherwise, you're checking just one more message...ask me how I know!

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