First, I'll apologize in this post for not being as articulate as I would like, but I'm doing my best.
Let me be clear. This isn’t a post about hanging up your career because of sales, bad reviews, or anything negative. This is about telling yourself when you might have to stop writing because of mental health.
When I started writing almost ten years ago, I believed I had to write all the time. I felt guilty for not writing, even giving up time to watch TV or movies, sometimes ignoring family time to write.
I was so inspired.
Plot bunnies nagged me all night and I wrote 500K in words and then some for years. But these days, times are different. I’m on track to write 200K this year already, but current events have prevented me from focusing.
As a black female author, this week has been especially challenging. I’m a wife to a Latino man, a mother of a 21 year old black man and a biracial young lady. So of course, my little family is a melting pot. Naturally, I’m worried for not only my husband’s safety as an essential worker, but my son as a young person of color in America. Try explaining to your 12 year old, that she will be biased against, and might see things unpleasant things. Although she has lighter skin, she might get picked on or even bullied because she’s multiracial.
When things like this go on, you must put things like writing and anything else aside to make sure they’re okay. My son doesn’t live with me, but we talked earlier today. Like any typical young person his age, he’s skeptical about everything. He understands the dangers, but like all of us, he’s angry. I told him, yes, we all are, but I’m glad you’re in the suburbs and not in the city. Not completely safe, but compared to being here in Chicago, I much rather have him out there with my mother.
Anyway, back on this topic. With all the anxieties of being a wife, a parent, being black and female, it’s difficult to focus. I’ve found many days where I didn’t have it in me to write, and unlike before, I’m perfectly okay with that. Although writing is good for the soul and frees your mind, publishing is the part that bugs me. Being self-published there are a lot of pressures and responsibilities. Surely, my pride won’t allow me to just push stuff out, so I much rather take off a day or two to read. Maybe if I write, I do fanfiction instead. I spend more time with family or feed my latest obsession for BTS. *laughs*
Either way, all of it is beneficial and can go a long way, especially now in these difficult times. Some days you just don’t have it all, and that’s okay. Your mental health is important, so please don’t feel guilty about stepping back. Writing is wonderful, but if you’re not feeling it, it’s fine to say no. It’s not supposed to be chore, but instead something that frees your mind. The moment it becomes a thing you dread, then it’s a problem.
So, in closing, please don’t feel guilty about taking days off writing. Practice plenty of self-care and leave time for friends and family. Besides, stressing out over your book or characters doesn’t end well. Give yourself the chance to let those creative juices grow.
Stay safe and take care everyone!
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Instead of promoting my books coming up, I'm just going to share my link tree. Please find out more information about me there!linktr.ee/authorsharitalira