Stress and writing and release are connected by a process that can benefit all of us as I’ve discovered in my writing life.

It’s been ten years since I began to seriously consider becoming a writer. It’s true, I have always written and am also a chronic doodler. A lot of us find we need something to do with our hands. From a young age, my hands have expressed my thoughts. A pen for writing, or charcoal pencil for drawing held in a firm grip that eventually causes my hand to ache and/or cramp. A physical side effect of tension, of being all tied up inside, and unaware. Aching for relief, and oblivious to the fact. As I’ve grown older, I am more attuned to the tension, and have a remedy at hand.

My computer keyboard is used for the bulk of my writing, but my fine point felt tip pen is used when I am wrestling with the myriad thoughts vying for attention in a manner that will wake me in the night or intrude when I have a quiet moment.

Finding Clarity

It’s my pen that tames and draws the fears, anxieties, and regrets into a stream of tentative words from the well of my mind onto the platform of the page. The act of transcription allows for organization of thought and then reorganization and in this process comes clarity. Sometimes a painful exercise, but still, one that yields reward.

Lately, for a couple of years to be honest, I have been journaling more than tending to my writing. For a lot of reasons, a variety of the unexpected interruptions all of us experience in life. And now I have what appears to be a clear path ahead to get back to serious writerly work. I do have a paid part-time position with a church, and I am launching an online business that is an opportunity to help abuse survivors, which is my passion. A definitive schedule for writing will be a must. As we writers know, it won’t ‘just happen’.

My thoughts are in order, a couple of pens have been bled dry, and three journals that I maintain are almost ready to be replaced. In fact, I am considering getting a five-year journal as one of the replacements. I listened to a leadership podcast interview and the guest explained how beneficial it is to maintain a five-year journal. Each year you see where you were a year ago, then two three and four years ago. It’s a wonderful way to track what God has been up to in your life.

Writing down my prayers

Even though a generous portion of my time will be devoted to writing my book in the next several months, I will continue to journal every day. It’s the process God has allowed me to experience that keeps me centered. One of my journals is for prayer. Talking to God through my pen keeps me focused, prevents my mind from straying to a list of mundane tasks or musing about what life may be like in five years from now. It’s so maddeningly easy to become distracted during prayer!

Do you relate to this type of distraction? Writing down your prayers will truly help, and the bonus is that you’ll have a prayer journal and a record of how God answered.


When you have trouble sleeping, when you discover that you have an excess of tension in your body, when you are unable to keep anxiety at bay, try writing everything down. Look at what you’ve written, prioritize and discard and pray over what remains. Then place it all at the feet of our Lord who is a gentle and humble Shepherd.  Whose yoke is easy and who makes our burden light as we walk in tandem with him.

For most of my life I have battled the temptation to try and accomplish things in my own strength. I put myself through all sorts of mental stress and then realize I’m leaving the Lord out. Journaling, writing down those spiraling thoughts, helps me see much sooner that I’ve slipped back into the stronghold of doing things on my own. I am grateful for the revelatory exercise of writing, and for our gracious and merciful God.




Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think, according to the power at work withing us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21 (ESV)

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