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How to Get Through The Dark Side of Christmas using a Writer's Mindset.

Updated: Dec 20, 2023

Do you secretly dread Christmas?

Are you spending Christmas alone? Missing loved ones?

Do you shudder at the thought of seeing certain relatives around this time of year? The ones who always ask the same annoying questions?

Or is it just a stressful time involving too many responsibilities and stretched finances?

You're not the only one. .

According to the American Psycological Association, 89% of respondents to a recent poll cited one of the above reasons for feeling stressed at this time of year. And 43% admitted that the stress of the holidays impacted their ability to enjoy them.

The clear path to easing anxiety? Become a writer.

It sounds counterintuitive, sure. Aren't writers notoriously anxious and neurotic? Maybe. But they also take that anxiety and plough it into their work.

So, I'm here to convince you to try. Be a writer for a week and a half.

I'm pretty sure you'll be hooked by New Year's.

Writers revel in emotional hardship–as long as they see things in terms of 'material'. For one thing, they're like Magpies. Always searching for the Next. Big. Idea. Assessing the world and people around them. Stealing snippets of conversation. Odd characteristics. Personality flaws. Bits and pieces of physical appearance. They cobble it all together in the secret laboratory in their heads. Like Frankenstein.

God help you if you cross a writer.

The perspective of 'material' distances unpleasant experiences. This is well documented in the psychology behind journaling (I'm going to write more about this in the newsletter). Writing down our anxieties allows us to rationalize the overwhelm and gives us a feeling of control. We can take a step back and analyze whatever is triggering our emotional response.

"What's the real story here?" a writer might ask themselves when Uncle Bill makes an off-colour remark.

Another very handy aspect of being a writer is that they are unusually attuned to nuance, subtext and irony. The pain behind the smile. The awkward silence. Actions that don't match intention. The contrary nature of and challenges associated with a seemingly joyous event (i.e., Christmas).

A writer needs to delve deep beneath the surface of things. The human psyche in all its complexity is the space a writer likes to explore. The murky crevices behind the veneer. That’s where things get interesting.

So, as we retreat into the weeks either side of New Year's, when no one is entirely sure what day of the week it is, let's agree to all be writers.

Observe and analyze. Piece together the characters and stories. Then let's meet back here in the New Year to compare notes.

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