As authors, the thought of consistently putting our hearts on paper can be daunting. While we never want to disappoint our readers, we become our own worst critics.
Many authors can masterfully write about self-care, yet we see it as wishful thinking because we have literary goals screaming at us.
So, what is an author to do?
There are five things that authors need to do to keep themselves sane and serving as they write to reach the masses:
1.Give yourself some GRACE—understand that you are not above something happening to you. I remember my journey and battle with an illness. I thought that I was going to have to give up on my goals and that everyone would be upset with me. I soon found that my readers cared more about me taking the time I needed to heal than for me to get my next release completed.
2. Understand that GRIT applies to self-care as well—it takes WORK to allow yourself to still and quiet your mind enough to step away. You are allowed to do just that! We write about “doing the work” and making time for ourselves, yet we will work ourselves into a stupor, thinking that our rest will come after we’re done. There’s only one problem with that—your body will SOON disagree with you. I take an entire six weeks off EVERY year and I am always better for it.
3. See proper self-care as a sign of GROWTH—we write about boundaries, non-negotiables, and the like while praising those who reach out to us for making those growth strides. But are YOU doing it? One of the worst things an author can do is not practice what they preach. If you are stuck, stale, stagnant, sunken, and sullen, it could be that you aren’t focused on the growth of the WHOLE person. What’s the use in growing in your craft when you’re drained and feeling as though life is being sucked out of you? When you stop to take care of YOU, people notice and your impact increases all the more.
4. Practice GRATITUDE—believe it or not, exhaustion and burnout as an author can and will come from not giving thanks for the lean and not-so-lean times, your readers, and those who have been in your corner from day one. When all you focus on is what’s going wrong, what you’re behind on, what’s not selling, etc., you are robbing yourself of being able to see what’s going right, what you’re ahead on, and what IS selling. Ingratitude can come from that self-inflicted blindness that stems from expecting perfection at every turn.
5. Celebrate your GRADUATION DAY—and that does NOT mean to go RIGHT into your next project either! Take the time to bask in the glow of that new piece. Allow it to be front and center for a while. There’s nothing worse than tarnishing your joy by saying, “Yay, it’s done! Okay…now what’s up next?” Give yourself the space to wallow in the win because the time will come when doing so will be the only thing that keeps you going. Whether someone else is clapping for you or not, YOU need to make a big deal out of YOU and what YOU have accomplished! YOU made another stride and THAT is worth CELEBRATING!
Now, you may look at this list and wonder how in the world any of this can be possible when you are inundated with so much at one time. The answer is simple—you have to learn to make yourself a priority because no one else will until you do!
When you don’t make your self-care a priority, you will find yourself angrier than you need to be. Then how will you make your impact? You won’t in the way you are meant to, so take care of yourself!