Monday, 15 February 2021

Spoonie Writer: When You Have To Stop

SPOONIE WRITER: WHEN YOU HAVE TO STOP

I've talked a lot recently about self-care, especially during the holiday period. I wanted to focus today on being both a spoonie and a writer and knowing that sometimes you can't always keep pushing through. I've been going through the developmental edits process since November, I had surgery in December to remove some tumours from my hand, and I've also hit a new depressive episode from the end of the year to now. I couldn't stop editing, because I had a deadline, but I did find myself getting into a point where I felt that surge of apathy about everything. Writing, editing, revisions, you name it, I was completely the poster child for apathy.

And that's when I realised just how close I was to burnout. I've talked about that before (piece found here) and will probably talk about it again, because it's something that pretty much every creative skirts around. The idea that we have to keep pushing ourselves through the hard times because gotta have that hustle, right? I've talked recently about writing every day (piece found here) and why I don't think it's healthy for anyone, but especially not for those of us in the writing community who also fall under the spoonie umbrella.

So what can you do when you know you need a break, but deadlines and the like just aren't helping. As you all know I'm indie, so I technically can set my own deadlines, but with other issues, like booking promo and such for cover reveals and book releases and the like, I don't always have the chance to change those deadlines, or risk losing money and other things. I've been trying my hardest to both keep up with edits but also manage to follow my schedule and while I am a huge advocate in taking a break, or multiple breaks throughout your working time, I find it hard to always implement that for myself.

So here are my tips for when you're a spoonie, you have a deadline, and you're reaching the edge of your ability to keep working.

#1 BE HONEST WITH PEOPLE

This can be your editor, your readers, your friends and family, even yourself. I have been able to communicate that I'm struggling, and everyone has been pretty great at making sure they can help me both meet my deadline, but also give me breaks to get some rest and downtime that is sorely needed. If you're not honest with them about the fact that you're struggling, they're not going to be able to read your mind. They won't know unless you tell them, and while I completely get that not everyone has supportive people around them, it doesn't have to be everyone, it can even be a friend online. Just so long as you're able to find someone you trust, and can safely explain everything to.

#2 BE GENTLE WITH YOURSELF
I don't know about you, but I'm my own worst enemy. I push myself to breaking point because I don't want to admit that I need help. I struggle with opening up to people, especially when it's something that stresses me out. Having a deadline makes that harder, but I am slowly learning that it's okay to ask for help. I don't need to be berating myself for not being able to finish that chapter, or do that video or any of that. I need to be gentle with myself because I need to take care of me. Some people might think that sounds selfish, and maybe it is, but at the same time, you are the only one who knows what you need, and if you're able to do it, you shouldn't stand in your own way.

And finally, #3 TAKE YOUR TIME TO GET BACK
I know that there are sometimes outside things that mean you can't take a long break. Sometimes you have a couple of days to recover and then it's back into the thick of things. I get that on a deep level, but if you can take longer, don't rush back. Let yourself heal, let yourself have the time to refill your well and also rest and recuperate from whatever flare and such you're dealing with. You will thank yourself in the future.

So there we go, my three tips when it comes to having to stop. These apply whether you're a spoonie or not, but I do know that spoonies often find it harder to take that break because we're constantly expected to keep going no matter what. If you need permission to take some time for yourself, considering this that permission. Stay safe, stay well, and take care.

Any questions? Lemme know in the comments.

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