“There are darknesses in life and there are lights; you are one of the lights.” – Bram Stoker, Dracula

Whether you’re a seasoned author or just starting out, we know that the journey of writing can sometimes be a rollercoaster ride for our minds.

In this blog post, we’re going to explore some simple yet powerful tips to help keep your mental health in check while you’re busy crafting your next masterpiece.

From dealing with writer’s block to handling the ups and downs of the writing life, we’ve got you covered. So, grab a cup of tea, get comfy, and let’s dive into this journey together. Remember, your stories are important, and so are you!

1. Set Realistic Goals

Break down your writing goals into manageable tasks to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Start with your word count and then reverse engineer your writing plan from there. It’s OK to start small and then build momentum along the way! Only have time to write 250 words a day? That’s OK. It’s better than 0 words a day. I love the app Pacemaker, a simple word count planner.

2. Establish a Routine

Create a consistent writing schedule to maintain a sense of structure and stability. I love studying writer routines. For me I always need a cup of coffee, a candle and then music. Do what you need to do to get your brain into writing mode.

3. Take Breaks

Don’t forget to step away from your writing desk and give yourself regular breaks to recharge. Many authors use the Pomodoro method to help them to remember to take breaks. You can write for 25 minutes and then take a 5-minute break. Or, if you want longer sprints, work for 50 minutes and then take a 10-minute break. Whatever works best for you!

4. Stay Active

Incorporate physical activity into your routine to boost mood and creativity. Studies have shown over and over again how beneficial exercise is to creativity. You don’t have to do anything extreme like CrossFit, but if that’s your jam – go for it! Sometimes a short walk or some yoga outside can do wonders. (I love this workout based out of the book, A Court of Silver Flames!)https://www.youtube.com/embed/hjK9NzdxiZ4?si=p16olVBkYjqZPu14

5. Connect with Nature

Spend time outdoors to refresh your mind and gain new perspectives. You are a human being. You need fresh air and to give your eyes a break from screens and technology. You don’t have to hike a mountain to do this. Just a short walk outside can help you reset your mind.

6. Practice Mindfulness

Cultivate awareness of the present moment to reduce stress and anxiety. There’s a lot of wonderful mindfulness apps out there and many are free. My personal favorite is Mindfulness.

7. Limit Social Media

Set boundaries on social media usage to prevent distractions and comparison. For many authors social media is a key part of their marketing strategy, but you don’t want to get burnt out on it! Limit your scrolling time and when you are writing – put your phone on Do Not Disturb mode to help you resist the temptation to constantly be checking your Instagram DM’s or to see how your latest TikTok did.

8. Seek Support

Build a network of fellow writers or join writing groups for encouragement and camaraderie. This is SO essential if you want to be an author in the long run! You can’t do this alone and other authors just get you. Join a local writers group or, reach out to an author in your genre and start your own group!

9. Express Gratitude

It seems cliche, but science says it works. Take time to appreciate your accomplishments and the joys of writing. You have come so far! Remember when you hadn’t written anything and your days were spent daydreaming finally taking the leap and writing your book? (Aaaah, how naive you were then.)

10. Journaling

Use journaling as a tool for self-reflection and processing emotions related to your writing journey. Indie author Chelsie Prince sells an Author’s Black Book (that at one point sold out on her TikTok shop) that contains prompts and suggestions to help you with your writing!

11. Practice Self-Compassion

Be kind to yourself and recognize that perfection is not attainable. No author has it all figured out and did everything “right” in their author career. The most successful authors are the ones that have made the most mistakes!

12. Prioritize Sleep

Aim for quality sleep to improve cognitive function and mood regulation. You. Need. Sleep. Your brain heals itself from the beating it takes just being alive every day when you sleep. Better sleep = better books. I promise!

13. Healthy Eating

Fuel your body with nutritious foods to support mental clarity and energy levels! This is key to your mental health. Eat to fuel your brain so you can write better books. Don’t let yourself get hangry. No one likes a hangry author.

14. Limit Caffeine and Alcohol

Moderation is key when consuming stimulants and depressants that can impact mood and sleep. Again, moderation. Every author has their own beverage of choice, just make sure it’s helping you and not hindering you.

15. Set Boundaries

Learn to say no to commitments that overwhelm you and prioritize your well-being. Your writing is important. If it’s what pays the bills for you, remember that there is a time to reap and a time to sow.

16. Celebrate Small Wins

Acknowledge and celebrate each step forward in your writing journey. This is HUGE when you are an author. I know one author that gets gourmet sushi every time they finish a book. Maybe you buy yourself a new purse or pair of shoes. Maybe you treat yourself to a bottle of bourbon. This whole writing thing doesn’t always have to be a slog!

17. Embrace Imperfection

Allow yourself to make mistakes and learn from them without harsh self-criticism. Harsh self-criticism might seem like it’s productive, but I can assure you it’s not. If you’ve made a mistake, train your brain to find what you’ve learned from that mistake and then move onward.

18. Practice Deep Breathing

Incorporate deep breathing exercises to reduce stress and promote relaxation. Like this one below that helps reduce stress and anxiety. Some authors do breathing sessions before they begin their writing sessions to help clear their mind.https://www.youtube.com/embed/FJJazKtH_9I?si=t-AkT9cFf1rkXdnh

19. Create a Comfortable Workspace

Design a writing environment that is conducive to focus and creativity. It’s so fun to look at different author workspaces! I personally have to have a clear, clean desk to focus. My husband cannot focus at a clean, clear desk. He likes his to feel just a little cluttered and just a little messy. Check out Chuck Wendigs desk in his writer shed. A writer can dream, right?!

Desks of Famous Authors

20. Schedule “Me” Time

Dedicate time for hobbies and activities that bring you joy outside of writing. It’s hard when you feel a book idea burning inside of you, but you need to remember to do things that fill up your cup so you can have words to pour out. I personally love to sit in my recliner and read. This is my own “me” time. Some other authors go fishing, shopping, etc! Whatever fills you up, make space in your calendar weekly for this.

21. Stay Hydrated

Drink plenty of water to support overall health and cognitive function. You can make your water goals fun like using this motivational water bottle. Or, go even further and label it, Tears of My Readers.

22. Learn to Say No

Don’t overcommit yourself; prioritize your mental health by setting boundaries. We all only have not just capacity with our time, but with our mental and emotional energy. This isn’t something us authors speak of enough and we need to realize we only have so much to give. It’s OK to say “No”, or even, “Not right now but perhaps down the road” to other commitments.

23. Seek Professional Help if Needed

Don’t hesitate to reach out to a therapist or counselor if you’re struggling with your mental health. Therapy. Is. Awesome. It helps you sort out whatever is going on in your mind. I truly appreciate Sarah J. Maas for speaking up on this. Her mental health was at an all time low and so was her creativity. The two absolutely go hand-in-hand. Don’t have a therapist? Use Psychology Today‘s therapist finder. It’s how I find mine and she’s wonderful and been a life saver.

24. Plan Out Your Week

This is an incredibly underrated skill for any business owner, but specifically business owners. Protect your time and guard it before the week even starts. Make sure you first block out time for self-care and assess your workload. Oftentimes we overestimate what we can get done in a week. So don’t stress yourself out and plan accordingly! 

25. Remember Your Why

Reflect on the reasons you love writing and stay connected to your passion and purpose. Print out pictures of your “why” and your author goals and put them around your writing space to remind you why you are working so hard!

I’d love to hear from you. Which of these tips are you missing and hope to implement into your routine? You are important and so are your books. Take care of yourself!