Most if not all writers will have experienced or are currently experiencing strain on their mental health. For all its highs, writing, and then the process of querying and publishing, can have devastating lows that can damage a writer’s wellbeing. Writing is a deeply personal activity that is then commercialised, monetised, and made open to public opinion throughout the querying and publication process. Rejections, in particular, can snuff out the spark of even the toughest writer, and every new obstacle can make our dreams seem even more impossible.

It’s therefore vital that writers safeguard their mental health – our creativity and ideas stem from our brains, after all. They’re our most important tool, but we often neglect them.

For Mental Health Awareness Week, the WriteMentor team share their advice to help promote positive writerly well-being.

Start something new

Stuart: Rejection can very tough for a writer’s mental health and well-being. Even not hearing can take it’s toll upon us and cause extreme levels of anxiety. The best advice I’ve ever applied to my writing is to remember the outcomes are based upon business models and sales, not upon the quality of your work and it certainly doesn’t reflect upon you. To endure the wait, you absolutely should start something new and get even more excited about that, so as to make the rejections sting just a little less! Plus you’ll already have a new project started. Win win.

Define your worth

Emily: Don’t define your worth by what your work, how much you’ve written or how far your manuscript has got with agents or editors. Creative work can seem super entwined with your psyche, and as such it can feel like writing is a part of your very soul, but ultimately it is work. You are still awesome, even if your work-in-progress isn’t getting to where you want it, for whatever reason.

Take a break

Melissa: Always prioritise your mental health and well-being over your writing. Writing projects always have tough spots, and if you find you’re not writing as quickly or having as much fun writing one part of your story over another, give yourselves breaks. Relax. Don’t beat yourself up for that daily word count dropping a little. It’ll get done in your own time and sometimes stepping away from the page and refilling your creative well by reading or even watching TV or a movie can help to refresh both your well-being and the writing, when you get back to it. 

Find your friends

Florianne: Critique groups are great for developing ideas and receiving feedback, but writer friends can help boost your mental health and well-being too. Bounce back from rejections by turning to fellow writers for support and get that confidence boost when they cheerlead from the sidelines. Writing can be lonely but, by sharing experiences of the highs and lows of writing life, it doesn’t need to be. Find your community for better well-being.

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