Monday, May 21, 2018

A Happy, Healthy Writer


"One of the reasons we become writers 
is to live a different kind of life, 
a more creative life, more fulfilling 
and hopefully, a healthier life." 
(Joanna Penn)

YES! 

The quote above is from a fantastic post by Joanna Penn called Healthy Writer Tips: Managing Stress, Anxiety and Burnout.  I don't know about you, but I can use all the help I can get dealing with all three of those things. I recommend reading her entire post, so I'll just share some of my takeaways: 

* She talks about NOT separating her work from her life; it's all-encompassing, and how this can be wonderful AND exhausting. For me, writing is a huge part of who I am and always has been. I used to try to separate it, especially since so many people in my "real life" often ignored my writing, thus making me feel ignored and invisible. Now, I'm getting better at being my own person, doing my own thing. 

* Stress can be positive, when it pushes us to try something new, to step outside our comfort zone, whether in writing or in life. I'm working on a novella, trying to break into new-to-me magazines, and getting back into running. (Let the tears - of hysterical laughter and of pain - begin!)

* One of Penn's suggested Action Steps mentions digital fasting and cutting back on social media and news so we don't get overwhelmed by negativity and suffer from comparisonitis. I find this kind of thing helpful in quieting my mind, especially at night. I only check the news twice a day, and I have a cut-off time for myself when it comes to checking emails and texts. 

* In another Action Step, she recommends paying attention to the rhythms of your energy, your life, and allowing for shifts in how you approach everything, including writing projects. I struggle with this, often trying to force a project at that time, in this way. Sometimes it works, usually it doesn't.


"We all need to stop, take a step back and
think about what we want for our lives 
in a holistic sense. 
Burnout happens in the writer community 
when we forget why we're doing this in the first place. 
We bury the joy of creation in all the things
that have to be done . . . . "
(Joanna Penn)


*****

How are you feeling about your writing health? Do you struggle with anxiety, burnout, stress or anything else along those lines? How do you manage it? 

24 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

The digital fasting is good advice. I do that now and then.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I haven't done a "fast" for a whole day/weekend, but I have cut back in general and the cut-off times I set for myself definitely work for me.

Maria Zannini said...

A little digital fasting is a good idea any time when life gets hectic. It's like cleansing your soul of minutia.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

As much as I enjoy the blogging/social media things I do, I also find that when I stop, I feel a sort of coming back to myself, if that makes sense.

Shannon Lawrence said...

This is a great article! Thanks for sharing it. I've put it in the next IWSG newsletter, too.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

You're welcome! Joanna Penn's whole post is definitely worth the read.

Anonymous said...

The digital fasting is a good bit of advice. I can waste so much time online and not get anything done.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

It's so easy to get sucked in.

Patricia Stoltey said...

All those things! Then I get surge of energy and binge-write for a couple of days. I'm hoping the surge comes soon because I have a novel to finish.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I could use a surge of energy myself. :)

Loni Townsend said...

I've had way too much to consume digitally lately. I need to wean myself off. I tend not to force my projects. Maybe that's why it takes me so long to get finished...

Elizabeth Seckman said...

That is some great advice. Comparisonitis is lethal to the writing spirit and so hard to avoid sometimes. Shutting down is a smart way to do it.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I think it's about finding the right balance that works for us and works for the projects we're working on at the time.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

That comparisonitis drives me crazy because I'm usually happy for the person while also being miserable for myself. Ugh!

Lee Lowery said...

I love Joanna Penn - she always has such good advice. I'm having a tough time finding a rhythm right now - this transition phase is like Daylight's Saving Time every day. As for running - just put on your shoes and go. I had an 8-week hiatius due to injury. I'm more than a bit annoyed at how long it is taking to get back up to speed. But it's about the process as much as the end result. :-)

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

She really does!

Just the thought of dealing with that changing-the-clocks feeling every day makes me shudder. Ugh. Hang in there!

Thank you for the reminder about the process of running, of getting back up and out there, being important, too. :)

The Cynical Sailor said...

Digital fasting is a great idea. It can be so stressful to compare yourself to others and fall short. I've recently discovered Joanna Penn and her podcasts. She's a great resource.

Julie Flanders said...

I really needed to read this. Thanks so much for sharing it! The digital fasting is definitely something I need to do more often.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I don't listen to the podcasts, but I enjoy reading the transcripts and her posts.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

You're very welcome!

I find that even just a little less digital stuff often helps calm me.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

I'm perfectly happy doing the whole digital fasting thing. I'd be a lot healthier if I could do the same with the food I stuff into my face.

Since book one of my new trilogy released, I haven't quite made it back into the writing zone. It's slower going than I'd like, but I'm not stressing over it. My momentum will pick up soon... maybe. If not soon, then eventually. I'll just keep plugging at it.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Good for you for riding that momentum wave, knowing it will ultimately bring you back to that writing zone.

J.H. Moncrieff said...

I've decided to cut back on social media myself. It's fine if I'm promoting something or actually connecting with friends, but too often I caught myself aimlessly scrolling for no good reason. I definitely noticed it made me unhappy, and I wasted way too much time.

Joanna definitely shares some great advice. I just ordered one of her marketing books.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

It's way too easy to get caught up aimlessly scrolling.

I'm a fan of Joanna's blog - lots of good stuff there.