Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Writer's Stress at the Holidays

By Sapphire Phelan (Guest Blogger)

Writers live with stress much of the time. Whether due to a deadline or writer’s block to even a storyline suddenly going a new directions (characters can do that to you), a writer really goes into stress overdrive when the holidays show up.

Just after Halloween is come and gone, NaNo is here and writers sign up to write 50,000 words in thirty days. This could be their next novel or maybe even their first one that will sell to an agent or a publisher. But what the writer forgets when he/she starts this is the holidays are beginning—with Thanksgiving. The day after that is the first day of holiday shopping. It’s not too bad for one who is single, but those writers with families, pressure is on.

Some writers just take a holiday from writing until after the New Year. After all, January is nothing a month of freezing cold temperatures and depression. Writing would take the author aways from all that. While others set up time here and there to write. It’s for those writers who want to persevere that maybe the following tips will be most useful to take away the tension.

Take a walk. When everything gets to you, take a walk on a nearby walking path or the neighborhood. Get back to nature or view the Christmas lights on neighbors’ homes - the beauty will take your breath away.

Lock yourself in the bathroom, fill the tub full of your favorite bubble bath, place a lighted candle on the sink counter nearby, and open up a bottle of your favorite wine (hey, there’s chocolate wine now!), pour it in a glass, and take a soak.. Maybe even play your favorite music or even Christmas music. Or just do it in silence. There’s nothing like a good soak to drain away tense muscles and jumpiness.

Yoga and exercise. I have never done yoga, but I heard from others it is very helpful in tension relief and even losing weight. As for exercise, there is nothing better for getting the kinks out - besides losing weight. Plus if you start the day off with a half hour of exercise, it helps the brain matter too. Which helps the writer in story writing.

Take the time to just sit and do nothing. Go read a book or watch a favorite DVD. Sometimes, we all need to relax to put the anxiety off. When’s the last time you just start and stared at the ocean, or stood and watched a squirrel doing its things from your front door or window? Puts perspective on life, doesn’t it?

Massage. Though most times one has to go somewhere and pay for a massage, maybe you may have a friend or relative who can massage the tension from your muscles.

Stretching. I say this is good to do a few times during the day, starting when you wake up. Stretching puts years on your life. We don’t stretch enough. It makes the muscles happy with us.

Self-hypnosis. You can hypnotized yourself to lose weight, cut down on smoking and yes, ridding stress from your life.

Meditation. Just take time to sit or lay, and set your mind off somewhere else.

Breathing. Breathing exercises are always a big help. They provide convenient and simple stress relief in that they can be used anytime, anywhere, and they work quickly.

Enjoying a good game with a group of friends, or playing something relaxing online can take your mind off of your stressors, and can lead to a more relaxed state. Games are stress relievers that work well because people enjoy them enough to use them regularly.

Sex. Yes, this can be one of the biggest stress relievers around. It incorporates several other stress relief ingredients--breathing, touch, social connection, and a few others--and brings a rush of endorphins and other beneficial chemicals with orgasm.

Laughter. Just laugh out loud with a big belly laugh, or watch a funny movie or read some jokes.

Listen to music. Take the time to sit and play some of your favorite type of music. Not heavy metal or rap, but maybe something soft and relaxing.

Aromatherapy. This has proven benefits for stress relief--it can help you to become energized, more relaxed, or more present. Get some great smelling candles that are for this and set them up around your work space.

Eat a balanced meal, less caffeine, and drink in moderation.

These are just some of the tips to help you, the writer, to take the holidays and your writing deadlines in stride. Remember, view the holidays as a time of joy and balance both them and your writing, and you the writer will be a happy person.

~ Sapphire Phelan

Dark heroes and heroines with bite...sink your teeth into a romance by Sapphire Phelan today.






Blurb for A Familiar Tangle With Hell:

Tina and Charun thought it was all over and that their life would be normal—well, as normal as it could be for an immortal Witch and her demon Familiar. Except there was another prophesy, one that laid claim that if Lucifer snatches Tina and mates with her before the last chime before midnight of the new year and gets her pregnant with his son, that the real Armageddon would begin, spelling the end of life as they knew it.

When Tina is stolen away, Charun, along with Jacokb the archangel, must race against time into the bowels of Hell to rescue her. But with demons, Lucifer, and a cute demon bunny with fangs out of a Monty Python nightmare, out to stop them and Heaven not lending a hand, will Tina become the mother of the Antichrist and the start of a new Hell on Earth?

The Prologue of A Familiar Tangle With Hell:

Some days, it just didn’t pay to rebel against your father. Most especially if your father was God Himself. War was hell, especially when the rebels’ own survival mattered in winning. A terrible pit of darkness made by God to be their prison loomed at their feet. And it looked like the rebels were losing.

Glancing over his shoulder as he fought, Charun saw swirling masses of various shades of darkness. When the hem of his glowing robe flipped over the edge, some of that darkness reached up with grasping fingers to take hold, no doubt trying to pull him in. When he stepped forward, the stuff cried out, upset that it didn’t get to embrace him into its fold.

Charun should have listened to that inner psychic voice that told him not to listen to Lucifer, but oh no, he told it to shut up and just blindly followed where angels should always fear to tread. He was a stupid brat who didn’t know what was good for him.

Barreling through a plethora of angelic hosts that fell aside like pins on a bowling alley struck by a ball, Charun winged his way to Lucifer’s side, sword in hand. His leader in the revolt against Heaven was battling their brother, the archangel Michael. Charun landed beside him and immediately slipped in his own sword.

It didn’t faze Michael in the least. He hadn’t slowed down once, not even with all the wounds Lucifer had given him.

Michael said, “Give up, brother. You know you will lose.”

Lucifer bit back, “God made those disgusting hairless apes and called them beautiful—more beautiful than us. It is time we archangels took over. He is going senile. You know that, Michael, so why do you follow him blindly. Join us, brother, embrace the freedom.”

Michael turned to Charun. “Charun, why are you with him? You’ve always been one of the good ones.”

Charun retorted, “I am sick to death of being good. What did it get me? Nothing! I been to the mortal realm and seen how the mortals get to eat and fornicate. And yet, God says, do not lie with the mortal women. It is forbidden. We must follow His rules and have no free will. Yet, his hairless apes have free will.”

Sadness glinted in Michael’s eyes. “God has reasons for the rules.”

Charun spit, the glowing stuff landing by Michael. “Well, Lucifer said to try it and see what would happen. So I lay with this one virginal daughter of Man and except for her enjoying it, nothing happened. No crash of thunder or Heaven-sent spankings. Just the most wonderful feeling came over me as I spilt my seed into her.”

Michael said no more but fought harder. Soon he drove back not only Lucifer, but Charun, too. Both found themselves with the other rebellious angels at the edge of some gigantic chasm that suddenly appeared. Fighting to keep their balance, both of them watched as Michael stepped back and the other rebels, forced by the other angels, fell into the pit with high pitched screams. Charun took care not to fall as he turned around, but his sword slipped from his grasp and it spun down in slow motion into the pit.

A great booming voice thundered, “For transgressions against me, the Fallen shall be cast into the pit of despair and anguish. This pit will be henceforth known as Hell, and my son, Lucifer, will be its self-crowned prince. There will be no pity and no chances, to ever leave this place or for redemption. Only if I deemed so, can anyone leave its embrace. You all chose your Hell, now burn in it!”

Charun stared down into the swirling masses and, for the first time, wondered if he hadn’t been a teeny bit hasty in listening to Lucifer. Once shoved down into that place, that meant that he could never return to Heaven’s graces. Never see the visage of God, his Father. Never know peace and tranquility. Never know…

“Charun, you are sentenced to live your eternity in the Pit of Hell as a demon.”

Charun fell.

Buy A Familiar Tangle With Hell

About Sapphire Phelan:

Sapphire Phelan writes erotic and sweet paranormal/fantasy/science fiction romance along with erotic horror stories and urban fantasy. Her erotic urban fantasy, Being Familiar With a Witch (The Witch and the Demon Familiar series) is a Prism 2010 Awards winner and a Epic Awards 2010 finalist.

She also has done acting on stage and in films. And is a Master Costumer, costuming since 1972. For more on her, check out her website at

She admits she can always be found at her desk and on her computer, writing. And yes, the house, husband, and even the cats sometimes suffer for it!


Lisabet Sarai said...

Greetings, Sapphire,

Welcome to Beyond Romance! I'm definitely going to try some of your suggestions - I need them!

Good luck with A FAMILIAR TANGLE - sounds intriguing.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the opportunity of guest blogging on your great blog, Lisabet. :)

Molly Diamond said...

Good grief, Blogger hates me. This is the third time I've tried to post. The last time is shut my laptop down. I'm not retyping everything, but I wanted to let you know I was here and read your post. Good topic!

Kathy said...

A new stress for me is dealing with death. We all have lost someone but when it happens at the holidays it is harder. I lost my dad in 2002 just before Christmas but this year at the end of of November (2 weeks ago today in fact) I lost my husband of 40 years and frustration and loss sometimes are overwhelming.

Anonymous said...

Molly, yeah, Blogger, FaceBook and twitter can be funny like that some days for me, too.Stressful, actually.

So sorry for your loss, Kathy. I lost my father just before Thanksgivijg back in in early 70s and the holidays that year was stressful and horrible. So I understand.

Kayelle Allen said...

This is the first year in more than a decade that I haven't been depressed over the holidays. Perhaps it's taking the type of advice you give here, Sapphire. I've been doing these kinds of things, trying to head off the holiday blues at the pass, and it's working. Woot!

One other thing that helped -- I have grandchildren now, and seeing the holiday through the eyes of a baby and toddler is really quite the mood lifter. I love seeing their eyes light up at all the pretty things. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and all that good-feeling jazz. =^_^=

Anonymous said...

Kayelle, yes, the little ones can make all the difference on how we view the holidays. :)

Anonymous said...


So sorry for your loss, Kathy. I lost my dad in April, so this Holiday Season has been very depressing; Dad loved Christmas most of all.

I have to grin, Sapphire, about the comment on the NaNo. Ive always wondered WHY its set in November. LOL--I cant even begin to imagine writing a whole book during the holidays!

Wishing everyone a Blessed Christmas!
Hugs, Kari Thomas,

Anonymous said...

I've done it though, Kari. Done it before, too. But this is the last. I can write, just not on the stress level NaNo brings to the table.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sapphire and everyone!
This post is great and just what I needed to read. Stress - you got that right! Writing, Editing, Marketing, Blog Hops, Author Interviews (ours or authors on our blog) and all the web sites we maintain. The days just seem to run into each other. What day is this?? LOL Yes, I'm feeling kinda crazy right now but I love every minute of it. We have family coming to visit soon (gotta clean the house!) and this past week our family dog passed away. He was 14. I called all the kids (grown, on their own) with the sad news.
Now, I think I'll close this laptop, make a White Russian and watch a chic flic.
Happy Holidays to all!

Anonymous said...

My condolences on the loss of a beloved pet. :(

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