Sunday 29 September 2019

Nerd Church - The Writer Diaries: Writing Vs Self-Care

While my aim is to write every day (y'know, like all the advice seems to say you should if you wanna be successful as an author,) some days I just can't.

That's not strictly true - I usually end up writing something in a day: blogging, tweeting, e-mails, work stuff, etc.

But I don't always manage to work on my work-in-progress (WIP) every day.

notebook with balls of paper around it on a desk

What is my WIP? I have no idea.

Well, I have some idea.

It's a novel. Probably.

I started it over a decade ago (no, really...) and it's had a lot of breaks where I've left it and come back to it months or years later.

It's now set in Wales, because setting it in London was really not a good plan. 

It's got lots of gothicky ghosty fate stuff going on with some sci-fi and fantasy and horror doo-dahs.

I have decided it's in a genre I've named Kevin. 

My WIP is Kevin. *nods sagely*

(In case you're interested, it's currently called These Ghosts of Ours. I have no idea whether that will change or not.)

Coffee pouring into a cup marked 'writer's tears'
Via Giphy

Anyhow, my aim is usually to write like, 5 pages in my notebook per day (yes, I measure writing in notebooks #DealWithIt)

Sometimes I only manage a paragraph.

Usually I don't manage as many as 5 notebook pages.

I also end up taking a lot of cheat days where I don't work on my WIP at all.

I can hear the 'constant hustle'/'art is pain' crowd gasping already.

And in an ideal world, I'd write waaaay more than that a day - of course I would!

But we don't live in an ideal world.

We live in a world where I have to work, do family stuff, and also have some down-time.

We live in a world where my Depression/Anxiety tries to convince me to work my a** off in order to be 'good enough' - which inevitably leads to me exhausting myself and making my mental health a lot worse.

The more energy I let myself burn by over-working, the harder it is to work.

I can't do it. I just end up making myself ill.

I have to put myself first - as a lot of people in different circumstances and/or with varying disabilities have to.

I work with less effort and better results when I don't force myself - that works for writing and for everything else in equal measure.

Kermit typing furiously on typewriter gif
Via Giphy

With writing though, not forcing myself to write also makes me actually more likely to write - I know, I know, I'm a walking contradiction. 😅

The thing is: I write (and read) because it's who I am, what I was meant to do - and I mean that with my whole heart.

It's not meant to be something I punish myself with, feel guilt over, or make myself ill with. What would be the point of it if my passion in life was something that hurt me?

I have to write - but not by forcing myself.

I know when I wanna write.

I can't stay away from it - my hand literally starts making little pen-graspy-motions.

So I know that if I don't actually feel like writing, then it's not the time to write.

Because when I have enough time, energy, and attention-span to write - then I write. Even if it's just a little. No question.

The old 'burning the candle at both ends' routine* is just gonna mean you have nothing left in reserves.

You can't write - or work, or dance, or whatever the f**k you wanna do - if you've got nothing left in the tank (yeah, I'm mixing metaphors, and I don't care!)

*Really hoping you have this phrase outside the UK, cos I have no idea how to explain it!

And if - like me - there are days when you can only get a paragraph done?

Well maybe that's just how it's meant to be.

Enjoy it.

Write your paragraph. If, when you're done, you wanna write another one, go ahead - if you don't, then that's fine too.

Seth Meyers: That is some next level sh*t
Via Giphy

Take your cheat days and don't make yourself guilty over them. 

Cheat days are awesome! You'll do it tomorrow, no biggie.

(The hooman brain doesn't do well with productivity guilt. #TrueStory)

I've made a decision to put myself first.

And it's not easy.

But it'll be better, in the long run - I'll get more done, the quality of my writing will be better, and I'll (hopefully) be happy while doing it!

Do you over-work?
Do you think there's too much pressure to over-work in order to reach your goals?
Talk to me! 😊💬

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Last updated: 26th Dec 2019


  1. Yup, I pretty much relate to all of this, Cee! If I force myself to write, then probably what I’ll produce won’t even be that great either. No use forcing myself if I won’t even put any effort into what I’m writing.

    1. So true! Not that it matters if what you write isn't great, so long as you're enjoying doing it - but if you're not doing either, then what's the point, y'know? <3

  2. If you have to force yourself to write, then it becomes even harder to do it in the future. I completely agree, you need days off.

    When it comes to my book that I'd like to publish, which I'm close to doing, I get so anxious over the thought of it actually being out there (will anyone read it, will it just be mediocre, did I waste all these years) and end up not working on it at all, which gives me even more anxiety that it's just sitting on my computer, not going anywhere. It sucks that I just can't enjoy it anymore.

    Take all the time you need to get back into the right mindset. No one should force themselves to do what they enjoy x

    1. I'm a little bit of a workaholic anyway (lol,) so I know if I'm forcing myself, it's not good!

      If you enjoyed writing it, then you haven't wasted any time at all. (Obv. I can't just go ahead and tell you it's brilliant b/c I haven't read it, but I'm sure it's better than you're giving yourself credit for!) XD <3

  3. Yes, overworking has never helped anyone in the long run! I learned that the hard way with balancing all the book communities and platforms I have a finger in. So I do my best with what I can do. I have neglected my writing a bit, but this goal of yours you have motivates me. Maybe I should try something like that in November...

    Olivia-S @ Olivia's Catastrophe

    1. Ha, I do sometimes wonder how you keep up all the social media... lol. Balance is key, take care of yourself!

      And good luck with the writing! Remember to *enjoy* and not be too hard on yourself! :)

  4. I normally over-work anyway, so if I'm forcing myself, then I probably should've stopped for a break like 3 days ago! Lol.

    And thank you :)


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