Writing as Therapy … for me. How about you?

imageshorserunning1.jpgEveryone has their own way to cope with stress. I know that a good way is to exercise. It really let’s off steam and mellows a person out.  Not only does it provide a good release, but it’s great for your heart and tissues and other parts of your body.  I’m not one of those people. I exercise because I have to, not because I want to.  I do feel good about exercising, but when the chips are down, I don’t think, “Gee, I’ll lift weights and that will make me feel better.”

For some people, they love a good soak in the tub.  My daughter is a “soaker”.  Ever since she was a tot, she’s loved a good hot bubble bath. As she grew a isbathing2.jpglittle older she began putting candles around the tub and softening the lights to take a nice long relaxing bath.  I’m not one of those people either.

When some people get tired of city living and need a images-sunbathing2.jpgchange from the grind, fast pace and parking lot traffic, they head to a remote natural setting to unwind.  Sounds great doesn’t it?   imagesmeadow1.jpg I admit, sometimes it’s nice to get away, but if I’m upset or trying to cope, all that idle time only hinders me and makes me think more. 

So what’s the answer?  For me, the best form of relaxation therapy has always been writing.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a paper I needed to write for a class, a project for the PTA (in my younger days), a eulogy for a dear loved one, or a book on a hard and fast deadline.

 Writing has and will probably always be my best kind of stress-buster.   It helps me cope. Doesn’t matter what the situation, once I’m deep into a story, I can totally detach from the daily grind, from disheartening news and unpleasant things I’d rather not think about – like the thousands of people displaced by the fires nearby today and the amount of homes being imagesdaydreaming2.jpglost.   When my father died, the only thing that helped me was pouring my heart and soul into a story.  I remember thanking God that he gave me the gift of writing, because for those few hours each day when I sat at my computer, I coped. I forgot. I slipped into the fantasy world I had created and I could be happy. 

I love every aspect of writing. I love the beginning and middle and end of the book. I love editing, re-reading for pacing and continuity and making the story better.  I love the sound of the keys as I type when my story comes easily and the words fly onto the page.   I love knowing that my hard work will be rewarded with a cover and a back blurb and that someday isreading2.jpgsoon, someone will read my book and smile or laugh or cry. 

Writing is my therapy.  It’s what’s makes me the happiest.  It’s what I look forward to in the morning and what drives me during the day.  It’s better than a glass of wine or a pill or a ishammocks2.jpglong drive on a spring day.   What’s your “hammock on the beach?”  What helps you cope? Do you have a writing/book related form of therapy too?

Let me know and I’ll pick a random winner from your posts to receive an cax82xhzcover2.JPGadvanced copy of my November release Bodine’s Bounty.

Enter our Big Fall Bonanza contest and my WIN IN WINTER contest too. 

Happy Trails and Happy Reading!


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41 thoughts on “Writing as Therapy … for me. How about you?”

  1. Hi Charlene! Very good topic, I just hope my post doesn’t come across as whiney. :o)

    For me, writing has been more than therapy or a stress reliever. It’s been a lifesaver. My 29-yr. old daughter is severely handicapped, both physically and mentally. So, for the past 29 years I’ve stayed home and taken care of her. Writing (and reading)is my escape from my day to day reality. It’s takes the place of vacations or anything that would take me away from the house for more than a handful of hours. I simply can’t leave her longer than that, and I can’t afford a professional caregiver. So, I do the best I can.

    I’d been writing all those years in a bubble. Then, 12 years ago I discovered RWA and my local chapter, and thank God! Suddenly, the world opened up for me through my computer. I made friends, people to talk to on a personal level and about writing, writing, writing! :o) I was in Heaven. All I can say is, thank God for all those stories and characters that have been rambling around in my head since my earliest memories. I think they were there for a reason because when I needed them most, they saw me through some tough, lonely times. :o)

  2. Writing anything: letters, notes, to-do-list, diary, journaling, book review, e-mail, especially blogging here & with Cheryl is relaxing for me. Time flies when I put thoughts on paper; THANK Heaven for cut & paste as I organize my train of thought, edit & rewrite. I am very visual & NOT auditory so I write whenever I listen on phone, to instruction from boss, etc. What I do NOT find relaxing is gardening, sewing, or cooking/baking, yet I have friends that find them very theraputic; my husband loves driving while it just makes me TENSE. My comfort beverages are flavored teas, chocolate, root beer float or cream soda (occasional wine, rare beer, NOT coffee) and a book or a movie, with popcorn and candy. Swimming (smooth, calm like side stroke, breast & back stroke-nothing energetic! LOL) is relaxing. I don’t like the IDEA of walking our dog, especially in cold, miserable blustery snow or pouring rain, but once out with him, I am blessed with sunrises overlooking the golf course, bright moonlight nights where a streetlight or flashlight isn’t needed (past 2 nights; we are in a forest with deer,) plus chatting w/ friendly neighbors. I like to browse museums, art galleries, hospital gift, antique, thrift, book and greeting card shops (worked for Hallmark for 8 yrs-busman’s holiday!)
    I read almost anything, including the phone book and cereal boxes! Romance novels on the deck or at the beach, as long as there’s some shade; or by firelight w/ or w/out family.

    Char, I’ll have to check which 2 titles Jim is holding for me at his book store- saw your name & set them aside without reading back blurb after shouting Eureka!
    Happy Trails– you must be a Roy Rogers/Dale Evans fan? Them & Annie Oakley Forever!

  3. P.S. I just wanted to add that whenever I do leave the house, my husband is here while I’m gone. I guess we live kind of a strange life because it’s nearly impossible for the two of us to go anywhere together. Anyway, was afraid it might sound like I leave her alone. That’s what comes of dashing things off too quickly. :o)

  4. Reading good books is my therapy, and I’d like to thank you all wonderful authors for writing them for me!
    I’ve been waiting for over a year for a surgery, now on November 1 it was finally going to take place and since I will spend some time in hospital afterwards I have got a bunch of good books for that occasion. Today I got mail that once again the surgery was postponed and now I’m lucky to have all those books to read…

  5. I love to soak in the tub, but with two kids, it’s hard to take a break from the day to day routine. I have also gone out in my yard and just enjoyed the wind, the sunlight, the calm and quiet of living in the country.

    But I’ve written in diaries and journals since I was a preteen, so blogging and checking out others blogs is sort of a second-nature stress reliever. During my teens and early twenties I spent a LOT of time writing poetry when I wasn’t writing or thinking about writing novels. I have almost 200 poems that I wrote between probably ages 15 and 25. I still write it from time to time, but not nearly like I used to.

    Writing is THE big one for me, but I also tend to use music for stress too- I couldn’t sing my way out of a paper bag, but I do it anyway, at the top of my lungs, with the music blaring- whatever strikes my fancy at the time. We have a few Karaoke games for the Playstation 2 and sometimes I’ll get in here in the living room and just belt it out till I feel better. Music and writing. Those are my therapy.

  6. How could I forget going to the peace & quiet of the library with the multitude of books to chose from AND friendly librarians with a world of resources at their fingertips! Ours has comfortable chairs, even a couch to relax on in comfort.

  7. I love reading which I find relaxing and entertaining. I can be transported to another time and place and feel fulfilled and gratified from this simple pleasure.

  8. Reading while snuggled up under the cool covers is what relaxes me. It’s great therapy and I do it every night before bed. 😀

  9. Hi Devon!
    Your post brought tears to my eyes. You’re one brave and incredible woman and I’m so glad you found writing and reading to help you through those really tough times. And no, you didn’t sound whiney at all. You’re sharing your heartfelt emotions. I’m so glad all of us found RWA – it’s truly a great organization.

  10. Charlene, this is just exactly how I feel about writing. It’s my resting place. It takes me away from worries. I can let all the real life troubles go if I climb inside the book.
    And it’s entertainment for me too. I just amuse the heck out of myself with my own writing. That sounds strange to write down, ego-ish, but I just find it incredibly fun to write.
    Reading does it too.
    So, as for long walks and exercise…well, I didn’t get into the shape I’m in by my active lifestyle, you know.
    I really oughta take a walk on one of these beautiful fall days.

  11. Hi Lou
    Yes, time flies when you sit down to write. I have to be better about it. I’ll tell my hubby, “just 5 more minutes” and then half an hour later, he’s standing in the doorway and waiting for me. Thank goodness he’s understanding about my writing. I don’t garden and sewing stresses me out. Aren’t we lucky to have found our passion?
    You’ll have to let me know what books you’ve got on hold! And yes, I loved Roy Rogers while growing up. I can recite the entire song they sang at the end of the show!

  12. Relaxation for me is reading, (in the bathtub) and writing. You’re right Charlene, writing takes you away from your everyday life and you get to be someone else for awhile. It is a liberating feeling. That feeling of escape. I can read, but it isn’t the same escape as actually stepping into the shoes of your characters and “living” what you write.

    Great Blog!

  13. Hi Stacy – Do you read in the tub? I always found that difficult!

    Hi Eva S – I hope your surgery goes well when they finally do it. And thanks for appreciating those wonderful authors who take our mind off our troubles.

    Hi Taryn – With two small kids, its a wonder you get any solitude. I love the “singing” at the top of your lungs. What a great stress-buster. 🙂

  14. Reading books is my therapy. And I also enjoy growing all kind of flowers and trees outside. And I grow all kinds of flowers in my house. I like to take long walk and enjoy being outside.

  15. Hi Mary — We are of like mind. I do the “amuse the heck” out of myself too, sometimes. I’ll find myself chuckling when I’m writing. Or stop writing to find that I’m smiling. It’s the best job in the world.

    Hi Paty – I like your “living” what you write statement. We really do loose ourselves into our characters, the town, the struggles and triumphs.

    Hi Emma- I have a “black” thumb, but growing flowers and watching them thrive would be fun. Thank goodness, my DH has a knack. He keeps all the plants alive in our household!

  16. I should say reading, but after working with words all day sometimes I don’t feel like reading. I want something different!

    I do all the things you mentioned – exercise helps, and getting out in nature is a big one…take me out of the city and my attitude changes automatically! I love it, and it doesn’t matter where – mountains or prairie, I’m a happy girl. And bubbles too – Saturday night is my ME night – all about me. Bubble bath, a glass of wine and usually a dvd. Ah, bliss!

    I love writing, and can’t imagine my life without it and it started out as therapy from post partum depression. But writing is now my “job” and I’m blessed that it’s a job and a passion. But sometimes I even need a break from the passion/job and so I do lots of things. It’s all about living! 🙂

  17. Hi Donna- Very well said! I’ll admit there are days when the writing isn’t going well – then I look for different outlets. When I’m stuck, I read a book and that seems to re-inspire me. But it’s the stories and words and creating that really relax me the most. Doesn’t it seem that even when we’re not in front of the computer, we’re still writing, in everything we see and do?

  18. Great post! Reading is my way of relaxing and escaping the stresses of the day for awhile. I also like to write poetry and swim. Both of those things are very cathartic to me as well. 🙂

  19. Hey, I’ve got to say this because it was so good. Not to promote another blog or nuthin’. I’ve got no connection to this blog at all except I subscribe to their newsletter.
    Dean Koontz is being interviewed on Novel Journey today.
    It is so so so so good. (not enough -so’s- trust me)
    He’s really got a lot to say and such passion for his work and it’s so well written (there’s a surprise) that even interview questions are fascinating.
    Every writer should read this…and everyone else, too.
    As a writer, I found it inspiring and humbling at the same time.

  20. I love reading anywhere, anytime, especially in the backyard, in the warmth and seclusion of my garden. This gives me peace of mind and total relaxation.

  21. I go out for a nice, long walk by the mountains where I live. The clear air and the sunshine gives me the motivation to get back home and read another novel.

  22. Wondeful post, Charlene! Boy do I wish writing was a stress releiver for me. So not the case. I can always SEE the book, but finding all the words so that everyone else can see it just ss clearly is a lot like Harry Potting jumping for those flying keys in the first movie…and I don’t have a flying broom to help 🙂 The daydreaming part of writing, now that is a stress reliever. Reading, yep! Exercise–*snort*. In a perfect world, maybe 😉

  23. I don’t read in the tub. Tried it once & was kinda hard. I have a girlfriend that does it quiet often though.

  24. I love a long, hot soak in the jacuzzi. Then I am ready for my hot chocolate and a lovely historical Western romance which drives away all my cares and I can travel far away to another place where I have never been before.

  25. Charlene, a fellow author spoke about her husband finding her at her computer, laughing her head off in the dead night. He asked what was so funny and she told him her hero had just told her a joke she’d never heard before. That’s what it’s like for me. I love the company of my characters. They become really close family. Especially more so since my husband died. They seem to be filling that empty hole in my chest. Like you said, expressing your thoughts in whatever form you chose, be it writing letters, keeping a diary, or writing stories, is theraputic. Writing gives me that natural “high” that others probably get from drugs or alcohol. It and reading have always been stress-relievers. I haven’t found any replacement that gives me the same comfort.

    Excellent post! I wish you lots of success with the release of Bodine’s Bounty. 🙂 It sounds exactly like my cup of tea. I’m praying the bookstores here have it. If not, I’ll be visiting Amazon.

  26. Small wonder so many of you love to read! Or else you wouldn’t be here, right? But many of you have different outlets for therapy as well. I’m enjoying hearing about them.

    Linda – I’m with you. Nothing really takes me away like writing. Remember the Calgon commercial? “Calgon, take me away!” That’s about bathing, but ours would be writing.

    Stacy K – Too funny about your typos. We all do that when we’re typing fast! Or when I decide I can write without my glasses on – I won’t even go there. 🙂

  27. Hi Charlene, wonderful post. I do love reading with a fire blazing in the fireplace on a rainy day…but here in So. Cal that doesn’t happen all that often, so I read whenever I can. We just returned from a lovely vacation…even though we were busy every second, I am using those lovely memories right now to de-stress, especially that visit to Walden Pond. Sigh…Devon, God bless your family! And I too can’t wait for Bodine’s Bounty. (I am lucky that I got to have a sneak peek at the synopsis and first chapter in the beginning stages!) I’ll need a good read soon, as I am finishing up Kay’s Red Hawk and I’m loving it!

  28. Hi Tanya – Welcome back! It’s good to see you at Petticoats! A fireplace, rain and good book sounds great to me right now. We’re having 90 degrees, as you know, but thankfully the winds are all gone!

  29. Great topic. Early in my career when I was getting rejections, my husband told me “You’ll probably never sell, but I think writing is good therapy for you.”

    Until that moment, I didn’t realize that I needed therapy. 🙂

  30. It is not writing for me, but reading your writing..and other authors as well 🙂 Reading helps me to relax and focus on something else. Or someone else 🙂

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