Mental Health for Writers

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Yesterday, 10th October, was World Mental Health Day, and what’s best for a writer’s sanity? Why, a short story acceptance and publication, of course! Here’s my story in the most revered Jaggery Lit, a journal I have admired for years – J is for Joker. Do read and tell me how you like it!

Jokes apart, though, if anyone’s celebrating mental health awareness this year, its me. The C-word and the crisis it unravelled has caused havoc and wrecked the peace of even the strongest person. I’m no different, and the months after suffering the illness led me to question my physical health and induced a fear of falling sick as I’ve never had before. I’m working my way through it, though. The regular practice of meditation and maintaining a gratitude journal are helping quite a bit.

Indeed, for everyone now, and writers especially, maintaining mental health trumps everything else. We need it to create and so we can keep creating. Here are a few tips to help you do just that.

Praise yourself

Writers spend a lot of time beating themselves up. Ditch that and indulge in self-appreciation instead. If you don’t know what to praise yourself for, list out all your achievements. This includes finishing a drift, revising a story, dabbing in a genre new to you, writing an essay that touches on a sensitive topic, attempting a piece that takes you out of your comfort zone, or sending your work to the best literary mags that have forever figured on your wishlist,

Take breaks from writing

Yes – you heard me. Don’t be writing all the time, and don’t regret taking breaks from writing. Go out for a walk, meet friends (mask up, though!), play a game of Monopoly, even watch a movie.

Now we’re writers, so there’s always ideas, thoughts, phrases churning in the background. But choose a suitable time to step away from your writing advice and recharge your batteries.

Support your fellow writers

Writer envy is real, and it can take up a lot of mental space. Vacate it and fill it instead with thoughts of how you can support your writer friends. Some easy ways to do this (that don’t cost a penny) include:

  1. Rate and review their books on Amazon/GoodReads etc.
  2. Read and leave a comment on their stories
  3. Spread the word, share links to their work!

There may be many other ways to hold up the mental fort, but I think these 3 are the most important. Let me know if you have any tips to share for World Mental Health Day!

2 comments

  1. Oh yes, supporting other writers is so important, even if it doesn’t directly benefit you, it still does fill you with enough positivity that you’re spreading out into the world, which in turn fuels your writerly pursuits. Be the change, isn’t that what they always say? Anyway, thanks for this post!

    Liked by 1 person

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