How to Write While Under Stress

Not everyone has the opportunity to write in a relatively stress-free environment. Sometimes our everyday lives can throw obstacles in our way and make it very difficult to focus on doing anything. And for a creative person, stress can cause the creative process itself to come to a dead end.

If you're a writer, you can probably relate to the feelings that stress can instill in you. Sometimes you end up feeling exhausted and drained when it comes to trying to write, which can in turn leave you unproductive whilst trying to achieve your writing goals and deadlines. If you're looking for some tips and alternatives to writing while stressed, consider the following suggestions.


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    Make the best of your situation by tuning out any distractions around you that will just irritate you. If you work better with total quiet, go somewhere where you can find the quiet that you need. If you're undisturbed by noise, you'll be able to get yourself comfortable and in the mindset of accomplishing the writing that you need to get done. Even setting an iPod or MP3 player on low while listening through headphones can block out most surrounding distractions. Also play some soothing ocean sounds (which you can easily find on YouTube by searching for "ocean sounds").
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    Try deep breathing techniques or meditation. Take up a weekly yoga class, take a walk, or even try creating a zen garden. These techniques will help you to become more relaxed and will therefore help you in the process of writing in a quiet environment, by getting rid of external noises or other disturbances.
    • On the same theme, you could pick a martial art to practise; it also helps you to learn to focus on concentrating in a more disciplined way on what you're doing.
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    Consider using Feng shui.[1] Feng shui is the Chinese art that attempts to make a room or house more relaxing, by rearranging the way furniture and other objects are placed in the room. Using Feng Shui might help you to make your room a more pleasant and quiet place to write. You will feel more at ease about relaxing in an organized room and it's possible that it will spark the inspiration you're seeking.
    • Consider decorating and personalizing your writing area to make it more pleasant and relaxing. Add candles, incense, and unique decorative items to bring about a relaxing and peaceful atmosphere that will help you to forget your worries and focus on writing, even though you're under stress.
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    Walk away. When stress has got you so worked up that you just cannot focus, it's a wise choice to walk away from your work for awhile and take a break. Have a nice cup of hot tea or get some fresh air. Don't think about the writing that you must get done or any other task that is hanging over your head. Focus on relieving yourself of the stress that you feel. Once you can let some of it go, you'll be able to get back to business and write more stably.
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    Make a list of the main topics you want to cover on your essay or whatever you're writing. It will really help you focusing and remembering the main ideas you are going to write about. This can also stop you from forgetting ideas you had earlier in the day.
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    Be inspired by what you've already created. A great way to approach the idea of writing under stress is to look back to your previous work and take steps to further it. If you have been working on a novel or a series of short stories in the past, you can go back and continue on these creative pieces as a means of managing your stress. That way, you don't have to think of a brand new idea and instead you can focus your mind on completing something. Make it a goal and give yourself deadlines. You'll find that your mind focuses more on completing instead of creating, thus allowing you to write while under stress.
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    Avoid taking on difficult writing tasks. A writer shouldn't shy away from using little tricks to galvanize you into writing. When writing under stress, you can sometimes be aided by certain minor mental boosters such as low music, a mini fountain, or having the television on low volume.
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    Ease back into writing after an absence. If you find yourself writing again after a lengthy absence, then allow yourself the space to be able to ease back into your work and don't be hard on yourself. You need to get back into the flow and that can take time and finding your sense of creativity is not something to be rushed. Failing to achieve a difficult writing task can result in feeling down and even more stressed, which will halt your progression, so remain calm and take it slowly.
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    Use color to your advantage. Even the colour on your walls can change how you feel in your room, so get painting! Paint colors can boost or inhibit your mood overall. Here are some suggestions:
    • If you're wanting to feel happy, consider going for a pale yellow colour. The radiant golden glow of yellow lifts your mood instantly – it's like filling your room with sunshine!
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    • If you're looking to feel creative, go for a plum or burgundy colour. This is perfect for artists and writers and the complex colour can inspire new ideas.
    • Wanting to feel energised? Go for green. It will remind you of the bright fresh outdoors and can get you in an active and energetic mood.
    • If you're edging to a more calm feeling, try blue. It's the best colour for studying. The cool undertones help you focus and concentrate.
    • If you're in a dark and soulless room, consider adding a bright painting or poster of an outdoor scene with lots of color, sunshine, and natural scenes. It can be your "window" to a more inspirational view.
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    If your stress is causing you to feel angry, instead of feeling worn out or helpless, use that anger to get "fired up" about a subject that you feel passionate about. Writing can be therapeutic and if you use your stress to your advantage, you will see it disappear on your paper/computer screen. You might even be amazed at how well you can write when you thought you were too stressed to do so. It takes distracting yourself from the cause of your stress and learning how to turn that negative energy into something more positive. It takes practice, but it can be done.
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    Avoid drinking sugary and/or carbonated beverages that get you hyped up and make you jittery. They won't help you to concentrate on what you're doing and will probably make you more aware of the distractions.
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    Eat with mindfulness. Food impacts your ability to focus better on your writing tasks.[2] Eat foods such as blueberries, yogurt, and oatmeal. Coffee or tea in small doses can help as well, even though these drinks contain caffeine and can make you hyped if you drink too much. Choose herbal and non-caffeinated varieties if you plan on drinking them through the day or night.
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    Try leaving the house. Perhaps move to another place like a library or cafe that embraces long-sitting customers. You can go to an external place to keep yourself away from household disturbances and also to instill you with the inspiration of being around others performing all sorts of daily activities.
    • The library is perhaps the best place to go and write for long periods of time. There is also inspiration to be found in many other people doing the same thing as you! Use the library to get useful information and references directly, something you're not able to do from home as easily.
    • Consider setting up outdoors if the weather is great. Somewhere like at a park, public garden, lake, etc. can be very inspiring, especially if you can find the quietness you need in your chosen spot.


  • Sometimes taking a quick nap or meditating might help to relieve some pre-writing stress.
  • Reading before writing can stop stress and give you inspiration for what you may write about!
  • Work in natural light, or sit in the sunshine, to help reduce stress.


  • Avoid visiting areas that contain violence or conflict. Stay away from people likely to disturb the peace in any way.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol and/or doing drugs. These won't help contribute to calming stress but will impact your health negatively.
  • Avoid eating or drinking things that cause you to become hyped up (such as an energy drink, or coffee). This will only make writing more difficult and the exhaustion crash is inevitable.

Things You'll Need

  • A quiet place
  • Basic knowledge on topic that we writing
  • Quality writing material; either traditional pen and paper, or your computer
  • A good rest prior to writing
  • Regular good meals
  • A list of the main topics you want to cover, a mind map perhaps.

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