Writing, Deadlines and Stress

I see a lot of writers talking about deadlines and stress. In fact, I see and hear a lot of people admitting to feeling stressed in general, so I thought we’d talk about that for a minute.

I don’t mind deadlines personally. They give me a date to finish something, which is good. Otherwise I might take forever. One way I deal with deadlines is that I break the work up into chunks. If I want to write a book in 8 weeks, and it’s 55,000 words, I just pull out my calculator. That’s almost 7,000 words a week. Okay. That’s do-able.

But say I want a week of vacation, or I know a family member is going to have surgery. Then I might plan for that. I give myself more time if possible–10 weeks would mean no stress over those things. Or I can increase how much I work each week, which I’d rather not do. I’ve had frozen shoulder syndrome before. It’s not fun.

The other way that I deal with stress is by turning things off–you know, the computer. The internet. The notifications on my phone. I turn them off, and then I spend at least an hour every day knitting and listening to an audio book.

That hour really helps me to unwind. It improves my attitude too. I was knitting at a Starbucks while we were waiting on a family member to have 3 MRIs. It really helped to keep me calm about the entire situation.

So what do you do to unwind? What helps you handle stress? It’s different for everyone, I understand that. I’m really interested in hearing your ideas. And who knows? You just might be offering someone a way to cope with stress that they hadn’t thought of.

Comment below with your Stress-Busters. At the end of the month, I’ll randomly choose 3 people from the comments section to win a $10 Amazon gift certificate.


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  1. Denise on September 2, 2022 at 6:00 am

    Ouch! I’ve had a frozen shoulder. I hope you will be feeling better soon.
    At the moment I am involved with the winding up of my dad’s estate. Very stressful.
    I find looking at pretty things on Pinterest takes my mind off things.
    Reading one of your books helps too. 😀
    And lots of prayer. : )

  2. Richard Hanna on September 2, 2022 at 6:41 am

    I love reading your books, especially your Dead series. I am always looking to see if you have anything new coming out, and if you do, I buy it. Thanks again for all those great reads

    • Vickie Jameson on September 15, 2022 at 5:12 am

      Stress relief for me is reading a book while petting my cat. He makes it a point to get on my lap whenever I’m sitting down these days. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and for the chance to win a prize.

  3. Shirley Chapel on September 2, 2022 at 6:44 am

    When things become stressful for me I read. I do that if I can’t fall asleep because my mind is too active. Might as well tackle my reading pile.

    • Julie Brown on September 2, 2022 at 7:30 am

      Good morning I wanted to personally thank you for sharing all the books on book funnel. Your series on Kindle just made my labor day weekend.!

  4. Suzanne Sellner on September 2, 2022 at 7:06 am

    Physical activity helps me handle stress. My husband and I go for a walk after dinner any night when we can. That also gives us an opportunity to be together, to talk about our day, and to enjoy nature. I, too, read for enjoyment and to clear my mind of whatever else is lurking there.

  5. Connie R. on September 2, 2022 at 7:08 am

    Hmmm, how do I deal with stress? First off, I make sure I’m keeping up with whatever devotional book I am using at the moment. It sounds like I’m being preachy, but even five minutes quiets my brain and forces me to think about the Lord. It helps me. Then, I make time for reading although sometimes my mind is too distracted to concentrate. I make sure I get my morning walk in. Also, like you I tend to turn off the news, and avoid FB if I have to.

  6. Jai on September 2, 2022 at 7:44 am

    Great post. How do I deal with stress? Let me count the ways: reading, crocheting , tai chi, walking, playing my Music for Meditation CD, crossword puzzles, playing video games , or, in really stressful situations, cleaning house.

  7. Jan Hall on September 2, 2022 at 7:56 am

    Sometimes I go fishing. Most of the time I turn on country gospel music and sing along. Other times I put on soothing music and read a book.

  8. Lori Smanski on September 2, 2022 at 7:58 am

    Handling stress is like you say, different for everyone. I also think it is different at different stages of our lives. Years ago, I would go for a walk, read a book, sew, basically getting away from people. Now I find that for me to handle stress I need to go spend time in Gods word. If it is still there and I have time, I will sit and either read some or quilt or work on my greeting cards. But none of the later works if I dont start in God’s Word. Ultimate peace there.

  9. Solomae Stoycoff on September 2, 2022 at 8:08 am

    I love seeing an email in my inbox from you! Always a bright spot to my morning. Really enjoy the photos of your pets as well. Handling stress – I meditate with my focus on Jesus/God, bringing in gratitude and divine love with my intent. I also garden and read.

  10. Emma on September 2, 2022 at 8:10 am

    I deal with stress by going for a walk . reading help a lot. not watching watch the new. working in my garden.

    • Neva on September 2, 2022 at 4:02 pm

      When stressed, I meditate on Philippians 4:6-7. Sometimes the relief comes more quickly than other times. But when I take focus off of self and look to Him, peace follows.

  11. Debbie Earls on September 2, 2022 at 8:13 am

    My best stress reliever is to read a book either on my kindle or an actual book. I can escape into the story and totally lose myself. I read each night before I go to sleep. I would rather read than watch tv. Thank you for your fun giveaways and for your awesome books! I really enjoy reading them.

  12. Amy Bradsher on September 2, 2022 at 8:29 am

    Reading is always my favorite, but running, hiking, or just being outside is great, too.

  13. Janet Estridge on September 2, 2022 at 8:35 am

    My comment when someone asks me how I am doing.
    My reply:
    I’m waiting for this Merry-Go-Round to quit Spinning
    so that I can get Off.
    As for how to handle stress,
    a trip to the Russell Stover Chocolate
    Outlet works for me.

  14. Kim h on September 2, 2022 at 8:45 am

    Walking helps some but since I have nightmares every night its hard to really relax.

  15. Lori Wilen on September 2, 2022 at 8:56 am

    My usual destresser is reading, knitting, or making greeting cards and bookmarks.
    I don’t turn to food and drink. I try to keep my mind and my hands busy and try to

  16. Kendra Muonio on September 2, 2022 at 10:04 am

    I build puzzles or read a book if I’m stressed .I really enjoy reading your books.

  17. Marilyn R on September 2, 2022 at 11:02 am

    My best stress reliever is sitting quietly reading a devotional and my Bible. Other ways I destress is walking, reading, working a jigsaw puzzle for an hour or two. I do not have FB or e-mail notifications on my phone and rarely have tv on. Limiting the noise is very beneficial for me. Listening to worship music at times is another way to relieve stress. A great post. Thank you. Blessings on all your writing.

  18. Carolyn Smith on September 2, 2022 at 11:04 am

    Since this year has been one filled with all kinds of stress (including 2 surgeries and 3 injections and the passing of my son), I’ve dealt with the stress by reading books, working Word Search puzzles, working jigsaw puzzles, and going out with friends for a meal–just to get away. I have found that my daily reading the Bible through and praying has been a tremendous help.

  19. Gail Hollingsworth on September 2, 2022 at 12:06 pm

    I walk while listening to my Christian playlist. Taking deep breaths, enjoying the Savior’s creation and thinking happy thoughts.
    I also read, trading my stress for the character’s stress, LOL. Great escapism strategy.

  20. Tracie Nolan on September 2, 2022 at 12:08 pm

    Making lists always helps me. Keeps my focus on one step of a process. Also crossing stuff off lists is so satisfying!

  21. Alicia Haney on September 2, 2022 at 1:12 pm

    Hi, I go for a walk , garden or work on my crafts, or just watch TV for awhile. or listen to good music. Thank you for the chance. Have a great weekend and stay safe.

  22. Diane Castleberry on September 2, 2022 at 1:33 pm

    I play a Facebook game called Cross Stitch World. It’s like paint by number but you just click letters and when you’re done it’s a picture. I listen to true crime or other documentaries while I’m doing this. It allows me to tune out the world. I chose documentaries mostly because you don’t have to watch them; you can just listen. I suffer from chronic pain and depression amongst various other ailments, so this helps me get through the days. I also love love love to read! (That’s a given though, right?) I love Amish fiction or historical (like pioneer days) fiction/romance.

  23. Patricia Shrader on September 2, 2022 at 2:01 pm

    Hi Vannetta!
    A good stress reliever for me is to take a day to just stay home and “go with the flow.” (I realize not everyone has the option of doing this).
    When I was younger, and at times felt like my mind was going a hundred miles an hour with things to do, I would go to work on a 1000 piece jigsaw 🧩 puzzle. When focusing on finding pieces that fit, it’s hard to think about anything else. By the time I finished the puzzle, my mind was clear and ready to carry on again.🙂

  24. Kim Kiesey on September 2, 2022 at 3:00 pm

    You’re one of the first authors I read when I started reading Amish books! Love your books! I try to desires by during a couple of deep breaths and also just go with the flow if I can! Not saying it works all the time but……

    • Kim Kiesey on September 2, 2022 at 3:01 pm

      That’s distress – sorry!

  25. Patti Bond on September 2, 2022 at 3:03 pm

    The way I handle stress is to find a quiet place and listen to music

  26. Marilyn on September 2, 2022 at 3:09 pm

    I like to relax with a good book or a lovely magazine.

  27. Celia Harbin on September 2, 2022 at 3:50 pm

    My haven of rest from stress is threefold: Prayer, a good book, and music. I agree that turning off electronic things helps except for must-have music.

  28. Joan on September 2, 2022 at 4:43 pm

    I will look at a favorite show or movie or maybe read a sweet,calming book.

  29. Laura on September 2, 2022 at 4:48 pm

    I love your tips and pretty picture at Starbucks! Reading and walking help me reduce stress.

  30. Susan Fletcher on September 2, 2022 at 6:21 pm

    Stress buster – I come home from a LONG day with 3rd graders (39th year teaching), take a long soaking bath, put on comfy pajamas, eat a snack supper on the couch, and relax watching my favorite programs on television. Then, I start tackling more work!

  31. Marion on September 2, 2022 at 6:34 pm

    I listen to my favorite music or relax with a good book.

  32. Jan on September 2, 2022 at 7:19 pm

    When I get stressed, I go for a walk.

  33. Lelia (Lucy) Reynolds on September 2, 2022 at 7:31 pm

    Working in my garden, scrapbooking, organizing something, baking, etc are ways I deal with stress. Thank you for sharing.

  34. Ola K Norman on September 2, 2022 at 9:46 pm

    I like to read a good book.

  35. Regina on September 2, 2022 at 10:08 pm

    The best stress reliever I’ve found is to start my day off with prayer. When I start my day with the Lord I feel like I’m protected from the cares of this life because I know God will take care of me and my family. I also enjoy watching the birds eat and reading. It helps me to relax and unwind. There are also times that I find it necessary to unplug and rest my mind.

  36. Ileana on September 3, 2022 at 6:55 am

    Good article. I really struggle with deadlines because I have so many jobs, responsibilities and activities I really love. But as you said, deadlines help us finish our projects!!
    So, I take one or two hours per day to do other things like reading, gymnastics, and take my mind to different worlds!

  37. Carol Edwards on September 3, 2022 at 9:58 am

    I make lists so I can see what needs to be done and what I have already accomplished. This keeps me from stressing out over what I have forgotten.

  38. Dianna Nance on September 3, 2022 at 12:52 pm

    When I am stressed I crochet or read. Crocheting is a real stress reliever for me.

  39. Vickie Waters on September 4, 2022 at 11:20 am

    Stress is hard. One way I relieve stress now that I’m retired, is not having to set my alarm clock. I am not a morning person, so it’s really nice to just wake up and have my coffee, etc. and not immediately be on a schedule.

    • Marilyn Messmann on September 5, 2022 at 3:57 pm

      I find one of the best ways to relive stress is to either take a walk, or ride my bike. I get good exercise, find out changes in the neighborhood, and say small prayers as I go.

  40. Sarah Taylor on September 5, 2022 at 5:43 pm

    When I feel stressed I love to be fishing as I love to fish or just sitting outside under a big shade tree reading a good book! Blessings to you!

  41. Linda McFarland on September 6, 2022 at 7:52 pm

    To relax I read or sit on my porch and watch the world go by!

  42. Sandra Davis on September 7, 2022 at 10:26 am

    That Starbucks and knitting both look wonderful and relaxing to me. In the last two days to rid myself of stress, I attempted to cut down a wild rose bush that has been blocking our view when coming out of our driveway. It was not totally relaxing, but I believe I removed a lot of stress yanking out some of those roots. I am absolutely certain that rose bush has no intention of leaving us completely though. It is well ingrown into our ditch, culvert and driveway, but until next spring, we have a clear view.

  43. Susan Heim on September 13, 2022 at 5:28 pm

    I deal with stress by distraction! I watch a movie or TV show that makes me laugh. I read a good book. I do a puzzle or take a walk. I try to stay busy so I sleep well at night and don’t lie awake worrying all night.

  44. Stephanie on September 18, 2022 at 1:18 pm

    When I am stressed, I try to focus on simpler things like mediation, yoga, video games(Animal Crossing), watching a series on Netflix, reading books, or doing puzzles on my tablet. If these don’t help, then I’ll lay down and close my eyes for a bit.

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