My van’s temperature gauge pegged suddenly into the red. As I looked for a place to pull off the road, I could feel steel cables tensing up my back and neck and across my shoulders.

What makes YOU feel stressed? Speaking in front of others? Final exams? Your child’s fever? The spider on the ceiling? The disparity between your paycheck and your bills?

And, how do you deal with that stress?

When the van overheated last week, I began a familiar internal conversation: “What’s the worst thing that can happen? The van dies on the side of the road. If it does, then I’ll call Granddaddy Kendall to come and get us. That’s not so bad, is it?” Maybe not so bad, except that it was twenty-two degrees out, and I didn’t know how long we might have to wait in the cold. I do not like cold.

This morning, I posted a book proposal to an agency that I really would love to represent my next book. I have submitted queries and proposals before – it’s not scary. Today, however, was different.

It took over a week to create and assemble all the pieces of the proposal. It has been under the microscope dozens of times, taken apart, analyzed, put back together. I resolved that TODAY I would post the proposal, but this morning, I read through the stack of papers again and wondered if I had best expressed myself. I thought, “Maybe I should change the wording here…”

And then I stopped. I slid everything into a large white envelope and drove to the Post Office.

Sometimes, when something makes you nervous, the best thing to do is to run straight at it.

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