Monday 2 November 2020

The Trials Of An Indie Author: Taking Care Of Yourself



Last week I did a piece about deadlines and being a spoonie writer (found here), and a lot of it was about self-care when it comes to dealing with a deadline and trying not to freak out. This week I thought that it would be a good idea to kinda continue that idea, but have the scope be as an indie author. For those not aware, I've been published for 15 years as an indie author, I have several chronic conditions and am disabled, a full-time wheelchair user, and also need supplemental oxygen. Oh, and I've published 18 books! So I feel like when it comes to this topic, I'm a little bit of an expert, maybe not expert, I hesitate to call myself an expert at anything, but let's say that I have a lot of experience in the area.

When I talk about self-care, I have to admit that I wasn't, in the start of my career, any good at it. I pushed myself to breaking point time and time again, and got the point where I just didn't want to write, didn't want to publish, was just sick to death of the whole thing. It took me a long time to come back from that, to be at a point where I could finally enjoy writing and wanted to do it again.

I've talked a little bit about burnout before (piece found here), but what I wanted to do today is not just educate you on it, but also show you ways that you can take care of yourself, because as an indie author, usually, you're wearing a lot of hats. You're the big boss, the one in charge, and everyone that works with you and for you is looking to you to pay them, instruct them, and make sure the whole process works smoothly. And sometimes that's a lot of pressure to have on any one person.

So self-care can take many different forms. I use chatting with friends, or reading a book or two, or even playing games on my phone. In times when there's not a plague outside, I'll go out for a wheel, or hunt for a geocache or two. It's all such a subjective personal thing that someone telling you what they do for self-care and how you should do the exact same thing is only going to lead to frustration.

For example, I find it hard to binge a Netflix show because usually when I'm at my lowest energy wise, I can't concentrate enough to follow along with it. Does that mean it's not a self-care for me at other times? No, I do binge from time to time, but it's not my go-to. Yoga, long walks, all of those forms of exercise are also something I just can't do. The majority of the time I'm unable to walk more than a few steps, so trying out running or yoga is just not gonna cut it for me.

But you do need to find something that works for you, something that helps lessen your load, and helps you start to chill out and come down from all the stress on you shoulders. With NaNoWriMo upon us, we all need to remember that the most important thing of all of this, is to breathe, take a moment, and make sure you don't end up burning out. The last thing you want is to push yourself so hard that by the time December comes, you're a husk of who you normally are, and you don't want to even look at what you wrote during NaNo.

So breathe, take a moment, and look after you, that's the important thing to remember. And if you have any self-care go tos, lemme know in the comments!

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