I made self care a priority last year after years of being unkind to myself. It took counselling and mindfulness to understand how badly I was treating myself, even neglecting myself. While I learned to take better care of my self, I wrote and published books and stories and blog posts. I cut down on freelance work for a while too. No regrets. My history of anxiety and depression thanked me for being wiser.
The thing is, we writers tend to put too much pressure on ourselves. Yes, there will always be a writer releasing books faster than you. Yes, there will always be writers whose books reach the higher ranks. And, of course, we all crave some fame no matter how hard it is to admit it. So how do we cope in such a competitive world – how do we continue without feeling jealous, unaccomplished and hopeless? Let me tell you from my own learnings🙂
1) Stop comparing yourself. To anybody. You need to focus that energy on giving your best. Compare your today to your yesterday. Growth is what we need.
2) Take a break when you need it. I’ve been on a fiction writing break for a couple of months because my mental health needed my 100 percent. It’s helped me start on my new project this month, feeling refreshed and more confident.
3) Exercise your mind and your body. Take walks. Sign up for yoga classes. Workout at the gym. Whatever works for you. By exercising the mind, I mean reading. Read a lot. Books, blogs, magazines. You never know where you’ll find inspiration and new information.
4) Keep the supportive writer friends close to you. Whether it’s a chat group or fellow writers you meet in your own city, don’t let the good ones go! I mean the ones who encourage you, who support you, who are ready to pick at plots and the publishing process with you. Grow together.
5) Use social media the good way and meet other writers. Twitter is a good place to do this. Writers of every genre and experience level have interesting conversations and keep each other motivated to finish their WIP.
Remember, being a successful writer doesn’t mean you should be stressed, sick or unhappy!