Writer’s Self Care

I spent weeks praising my work and saying I was blessed beyond compare, but that changed quickly middle of last week. I got brought into the office and told there wasn’t enough work to keep me. I packed up my things (left my pens by accident and I’m still bugged about that) and went on my merry way.

Or my disgruntled, confused, and tired way. I don’t sit still well. I joke my mind goes faster than light sometimes. I’m about four conversations ahead when talking to someone. I went home and applied for unemployment like millions of other Americans. I went hunting immediately (even though others told me to take a moment). I don’t like being in this space. Last time I was unemployed I found another job in two weeks. It doesn’t look like that’s possible this time…with only two job openings in my field all week.

I’m stressed.

Stressed man sitting provided by Christian Erfurt

I forgot what day it was until I was taking my vitamins out of their handy dandy container last night. Monday. It had already come to Monday evening and I hadn’t put up a post. I had messed up the one thing I was trying to do. I’m writing this at 7 in the morning because I still wake up that early and will get this out on a Tuesday.

I hope you forgive this transgression.

And to stop waxing on about my terrible, no good, very bad week, I’ve decided to write about how a writer can take care of themselves during all this. People are right. I need to take a moment. So do many of you. I know some writers have day jobs (or had day jobs). I know some have families depending on them more and more during all of this. And just like me, you’re stressed and emotionally drained. It’s hard to write. Even though so many posts online say “take this time to write” as if we aren’t mentally at capacity as it is.

This is the most of written in nearly a week.

So here are a few steps to take care of yourself during all this.

It’s okay not to write.

You’re a writer. You want to write. But sometimes it’s hard to. When the world seems to be crashing down, you might not have the energy to write. You might just need to rest up. Watch a thousand things on Netflix and just exist for a minute. It’s okay. You’ll still be a writer after all this is done.

Read things you’ve forgotten about.

Remember that book that always made you feel fantastic? Reread it. Or that list of books you promised to get to but got busy? Take a moment and grab one. Take a moment to immerse yourself in a world that isn’t this one. Travel through the pages of a book. Minimally you can call it research.

Spend time with people that make you feel good.

I would say spend time with family but I know that’s not always the answer. Sometimes they aren’t the ones that make things better because they depend on you. Skype a friend that always puts a smile on your face. Spend an afternoon with your dog. Find someone you can connect with just for a bit. It’ll make a difference.

Have a goal each day.

This doesn’t have to be big. My goal yesterday was to clean the island counter and let me tell you it’s clean and clear and now I can cook on it again. It was cluttered with a thousand things over the weeks and I had kept putting it off.

Give yourself a goal. Maybe it’s wash the sheets. Beat that level in Mario Maker. Or putting in a few job applications. Give yourself a daily goal and hopefully it’ll help you remember which day it is (I am still working on it myself).

Remember you’re important and wonderful.

You and I and everyone else we love will get through this. It doesn’t look that great right now, but we will. Remembering that is what is going to help us make it. You are important. You are wonderful. And things will end up brighter soon.

Good luck.

Now back to the job hunt for me.

I will give you a bit of advice that I’ve learned hunting for jobs over the years before I go:

Once I read, on average, women and people of color tend to apply for jobs that they are 90 to 100% qualified for. While white men tend to apply for jobs they’re 60% qualified for. It’s time to apply like a white man. Mostly because you never want a job that you’re already 100% qualified for. How are you to grow?

And two, this is the perfect time to toughen yourself up to rejection, because applying for jobs that you’re not 100% qualified for means there’s a lot of room for rejection. But sometimes it’ll surprise you.

I’ll see you again next week. I’ll hopefully stick to my correct schedule and have something a bit more uplifting for you.

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