Keri Ford is knocking out some stress.

Here’s the basic rundown of an author. At least one as far as I’m concerned.

1. I wear pajamas for my job. Daily.

2. Bras are not required.

3. Pants are not required.

4. Heck, brushing hair isn’t even required.

5. I love my job. Writing books and making up random things for a living? It’s fun. It’s like getting paid to tell lies.

6. I can listen to music however loud I want at my job.

7. I can sing however loud I want (so long as the husband and kid aren’t home).

8. My diet tends to be made up of essentials: cookies, brownies, popcorn and coffee.

And that’s where the unpleasant part of my job starts to happen. You know what happens to skin when you live on junk food? It’s a nasty four-letter word you think you get to leave behind when you graduated high school. a-c-n-e.

Even if you do manage to eat clean on a regular basis, there’s other aspects of this job that bring on that four letter word. It also brings bags under the eyes, dark circles and my all time favorite–hair loss.

I’m talking about stress. It seems like such a backward thing, right? I live in pj’s, can work on the couch, have a diet of comfort foods and yet, stress. It’s the dark side of writing that you don’t know exists until after you’re published.

Pretty much, an author’s entire–and I do mean ENTIRE–career is based on two words: somebody’s opinion.

That can be agents, editors, an acquisition board, a reader. Somewhere along the lines, an author either fails or succeeds because ofย somebody’s opinion. Talk about some job security, am I right? ย I suppose you could say any job is based on someone’s opinion–namely their boss. But I’ve had bosses. And I didn’t have stress. Because I knew exactly what I needed to do to make my boss happy.

With say readers?ย Whew. Talk about varying of opinions! Number one–You’ll never make everyone happy. Never. NEVER EVER EVER. Give up attempting that as an author. When a book releases, I fully expect to be trashed by a large number of people in the way I trash and hate Pepsi (shudder). I just hope I’m embraced and loved by an even larger number than those who aim to throw me against a wall.

So as my stress reaches levels that my hair is falling out by the handfuls daily to the point I’ve noticed my ponytail has thinned (I have thin hair to start with. I really can’t afford to loss lots of it), it’s time to let go of some of that stress.

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Yep. That’s a wall with a hole (a half patched hole, at the moment), some plaster and paint. This is my stress relief. Home repairs. I don’t know why. I’m sure there’s people who do home repairs for a living who probably like to sit down and write to relieve stress. But I like it. It’s comforting. It’s relaxing. I uses a different part of my brain that lets me forget about things like opinions, career, plans, goals.

So anyway, this week I’m working to let go of stress by fixing some holes in the wall (thank you kid and the train you use for a step stool that punched a hole in the wall) and painting my bathroom. Don’t get too excited. it’s a simple tan color to match the rest of the house (this is not my forever home. I hope this isn’t even my home in another seven months).

What’s your stress-reliever?