Be Kind to Yourself.Take into consideration your whole self, not just your writing self. How strong are you physically and emotionally right now? How can you make those aspects of yourself better?

Get enough sleep and proper nutrition. Though eating chocolate and staying up all night watching sad movies may seem like a fun idea, it’s probably not the ideal way to self-care.

Remember when things were worse. Last year at about this time, I was recovering from four surgeries. I’d rather deal with some writing downs than that. Perspective is important.

Use your Lifelines

You know how that show, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire , has three lifelines the contestants may use in their answering? You have lifelines, too, if you think about it. When I’m feeling very end-of-the-world, I choose one or all of these lifelines for support:

Phone a writing friend. Call up your writing buddies and make a date for lunch or coffee or a walk. If you can’t go in person, reach out via email or social media (aren’t we all in secret writing groups?). When I admitted to my problems, several people reached out to me to tell me they’d experienced EXACTLY THE SAME THING, and I instantly felt better.

Phone a non-writing friend and talk about anything unrelated to writing.

Do something for someone else. Volunteering with a group or doing something nice for a friend is a swift visceral reminder that there’s more to life than your writing career.

Make other art. It doesn’t matter what it is. Learn how to fold a napkin into a turkey, or string paperclips together. Anything. Your writing muscles need a rest to regenerate into something stronger; give them a break by working out a different creative group. I actually completed a Christmas dollhouse that I’d collected the materials for, but never put together.

Do something physical. Endorphins, sunshine, fresh air. You know the drill.

Get Back to Writing

Make a plan. Maybe you’ll write something new. Maybe you’ll query another agent. Maybe you’ll incorporate your critiques. The important thing is to know what you want and proceed in that direction.

Visualize your completed project. I was at the local Japanese dollar store and saw daruma dolls. The eyes are blank, and you make a wish and fill in one eye. When your wish is fulfilled, you draw in the other eye. My writer friend Jamie Ford gets a new daruma and draws an eye every time he starts a new project, and fills in the other when he’s done. I don’t think he’ll mind me copying this idea, so I got a daruma and drew in an eye.

Or, go the other way, and try to quit. Wait, you say, that can’t be right! But it can be. When I told my husband I was quitting writing forever, he said okay. I was highly insulted. I’d thought he’d grasp me to his chest and declare, “No, no, no, my darling! The world needs your talent! You must KEEP WRITING!” Or at least, “You know, you don’t really have any other skills, so you should probably give it another go.” But okay? I said, “You’re just going to let me quit? Just like that?” I knew then I wouldn’t, and I was ready to delve back into the process.

I don’t remember where I got this from but it really inspired me and motivated me to get out of the rut I was stuck in ✌

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