This election is making me nuts. All the commercials, junk mail, news coverage, calls from pollsters. There's a lot of anxiety in the air these days, and a lot of anger, too. It all gives me a stomach ache.

Many people are obsessed and stressed out, and I can't help but get caught up in it. I catch myself checking the news several times a day, something I don't usually do.

Fortunately, I have the perfect escape. I'm a writer. I have to go write now, thanks.

And away I go, to play in a fantasy world free of campaigning and flag-waving. My characters have their own stresses, but as I am in complete control of them, these do not make my gut hurt.

A while back I made a commitment to write a minimum of two pages a day, every day, rain or shine, sick or well, birthday or holiday. I've done it for a few years now, and I've got to say that it's really helpful at times like this. If I'm obsessing over news coverage of some disaster (Hurricane Katrina is an example), my obligation to write each day forces me to turn off the news and leave it behind for a time. This is a very good thing, I've found.

Of course, writing every day may not be the best strategy for everyone. We all have to find the methods that are most effective for us.

If the news and election stress are getting to you, though, I humbly suggest leaving it behind for a while. Shut down the browser and the email, turn off the TV and the radio news, unplug the phone, put on some evocative music or enjoy the silence.

And write.