I think I may or may not be going through another bout of Writer’s Depression and I hate. It makes me feel miserable and wonder why I write. I struggle with vanishing from social media and ive deleted a few Instragram accounts in the past for my author page. Then I have to start over with a new account and grow my followers again once the depression has lifted. And it’s not like I can just not write anymore otherwise I feel Writer’s Guilt. I hate being a writer. I hate that creatives, especially writers, are more prone to mental illness and depression. It’s great suffering being in your thoughts with negative self-talk. I feel like my shit sucks and I don’t know why I continue to write.
My mother was/is a writer. My daughter is also a wonderful writer. My fear is that i’ve passed on that gene to her. She often go through phases of depression, announcing that she’s quit writing, then I’ll find her typing away on her laptop writing chapters to a new book.
Imma gonna jump right into this. No need for an introduction as the title has already introduced exactly what this is about. This is to all the indie writers who had to learn the hard way, for those who may have already knew this before becoming independant, and to those who have no idea. (This may offend a few folks.) Here it goes:
You probably aren’t as good as you think you are – Stop listening to your friends and family. They’re BIASED. Especially those who don’t read; they have no standard to go by. ( see The Dunning-Kruger Effect)
Read your reviews (the real ones) for the right reasons- Don’t read reviews for an ego boost. Especially if majority of the reviews are from people you know. Read the real ones for a gauge on your work. Embrace criticism and learn what you need to work on. Even if the reviewer did not mention anything useful , be grateful that your work is out there and is being read by folks other than your loved ones.
Your friends and family aren’t obligated to support you-Stop getting upset or down because your friends and family arent buying all of your books or sharing all of your posts. Not everyone is into what you’re into. Not everyone likes to read and not everyone is into the genre(s) you write. Also you may just not be as great of a writer/storyteller as you believe you are. (See #1). Go out and find your audience. This means you may need to pay for advertisements, do podcast interviews, give out a few free books, go out in person and find your audience through bookfairs, book signings, etc.
Stop asking people to read your stuff (finished or unfinished)-It took me awhile to stop being offended whenever my boyfriend (ex-boyfriend now) would not read something I was working on or had just finished. I vowed to never be with another man who didnt or couldn’t support me by reading my stuff. But perhaps this is selfish of me (still not sure). However i’ve learned that not everyone wants to spend valuable time reading pages of whatever youve written. Not everyone is interested in hearing about your writing. Especially if they don’t even like reading. I like to read and even I dread reading something that I may have no interest in or just don’t feel like reading. It feel like homework or just plain work. Let them volunteer or ask on their own. Hire a beta reader or do what i do: I go on facebook and ask for volunteers to act as a beta reader for me. I will say that sometimes this isnt a good idea if you’re looking for honest opinions, though. Why? See #1.
It’s okay to go back and revamp your sh*t-You will make mistakes. You will cringe on some of your earlier work and book covers. Hell, i’ve been thinking about changing my pen name for awhile now. I have gone back a few times and revamped lot of my old covers as well.
Just because you spent so much time writing your book, doesn’t mean people are willing to spend $25 or more on an unknown author-PERIOD. I know there are some who say that you need to know your worth but do it within reason. Think about all the facts first and research. Are you a well-known author? How long is your book? Is it a hardcover, paperback, ebook? Research the average ebook price in your genre and platforms, etc.
Hire a professional-This is something I need to take my own advice on. If you’re serious about writing and don’t want to embarrass yourself: hire an editor, proofreader, beta-readers, graphic designers, etc. I do hire graphic designers and once in awhile I hire an editor. (I know, I know)
Your readers aren’t idiots-They can tell when you’ve rushed on a book (guilty), they remember if you said that a character was an only child an a previous book, but now has siblings in the sequal, they know good writing, they know bad editing or lack of, and if you’re lucky enough, they know if you’re usually a good writer but didn’t deliver as good as they know you can. Take your time and do it for the ones who support you (not talking about friends and family)
It’s okay to take a break-I don’t know if it’s the virgo in me, but it’s taken me awhile to learn not to have Writer’s Guilt. I’ve always felt alot of pressure to finish or start on the next book to a series. Especially when I receive messages from readers who are questioning when it’ll be out. I’ve been guilty of rushing on books to please readers but in the end, it ends up backfiring on me. (see #8)
Don’t beat yourself up too bad when bitten by Writer’s Depression. Be grateful for the fans you do have and have try not to take yourself too seriously. Remember to have fun– If you’re a writer, you know this is easier said than done but it’s important to know that alot of writer’s suffer from depression. I talk about this more in Writer’s Depression is REAL. Create a blog to vent, journal, or join a community of writers on social media or in person who will understand what you’re going through.
Writing may not be your calling, gift, or purpose-It’s the truth. This is something that takes some searching within and really being honest with yourself. Below are videos on finding your calling/gift/purpose.
A few weeks back I wrote about Writer’s Depression and how a surplus of writer’s suffer from depression. Well there’s another thing that I recently found out that writers also deal with regularly: Writer’s Guilt.
I have suffered from writer’s guilt for years now. Before I go further into detail about how it’s affected me, I must clarify that there are two forms of writer’s guilt.
Writer’s Guilt#1:Guilt of spending majority of your time writing. I think this is a good problem to have. Many people who have yet to pulish a book or finish writing haven’t done so because they don’t make the time or simply just procrastinate. Sometimes it’s hard to motivate yourself to get your ass up and write your book, blog, essay, or etc. It’s simply procrastination and lack of focus. Well, these writers with this form of writer’s guilt are the exact opposite. They believe they are overly-focused and heavily motivated. They usually feel guilt because they feel that they don’t spend enough time with family and friends or doing other things. (Click here to read more about this type of guilt)
Writer’s Guilt#2: Guilt of not writing. This is the guilt that most writers feel. This is the guilt that has been plaguing me over these past couple of weeks. I have not posted a blog in weeks, nor have I worked on my new book in days. (The Other Woman, coming soon!) I don’t know where this sense of guilt comes from. Even when I vowed to quit writing in the past (I’ve vowed to quit at least seven or eight times), I could never quit. It’s like a habit that I can’t shake. The longest I have ever gone without writing was about five or six months and whenever someone would ask about future projects or how my writing was going, a deep sense of guilt would seep in. I would feel like I just betrayed someone. I still feel that way when it’s been just a couple days. Maybe it is betrayal. Betrayal to my higher self, to God-who gifted me with this skill, or betrayal to the craft itself. I’m not sure. I do know that it’s like a pang of guilt that sits at my subconsious until I get to writing. Hell, maybe it’s my spirit guides urging/enouraging me to fulfill my passion/life work/calling. I don’t know.
Either way, below are a few links to help get you out of that Writer’s Guilt. Whether it’s guilt from writing too little or from writing too much.
I would also like to add that joining and participating in a writing group is also helpful. I am a member of writing group on Facebook, where writing challenges are posted each day. This helps in getting out of that non-writing funk.
You can also purchase creative writing journals under $10 on Amazon. Here are 3:
We’ve all heard or read how the infamous Sylvia Plath stuck her head in an oven and committted suicide at the young age of thirty. (If you haven’t, click here) Plath suffered from clinical depression. We’ve also heard about other writers and creatives who suffer from depression. Many writers forget or may not even be aware that we’re more prone to writer’s depression.
My aim in blogging about this today is to ease and help cope with my own depressive state at this very moment.
Out of all creatives, those who write are more prone than any other type of creatives.
If you’re not a writer but know someone who is, check in on them from time to time. Even if they seem happy. A mental health check is pertinent to that writer because we tend to isolate ourselve for hours to day to weeks or months when creating. We’re also our own worse critic and even the slightest bad review on our work can set off doubt and self-loathing within ourself.
The best advice I’ve ever received as a writer is to write in a public setting around other people, such as a library.
This helps with the isolation aspect of it. I personally tried this and agree that this does help with feeling isolated as well as my overeating.
So check on your fellow creatives..especially our young and teen writers.
If you or anyone you know are having thoughts of suidicide, there is help:
You call or chat with someone using the above link.
Deaf or hard of hearing? tel:1-800-799-4889
In 1985 William Styron fell victim to a crippling and almost suicidal depression, the same illness that took the lives of Randall Jarrell, Primo Levi and Virginia Woolf. That Styron survived his descent into madness is something of a miracle. That he manages to convey its tortuous progression and his eventual recovery with such candor and precision makes Darkness Visible a rare feat of literature, a book that will arouse a shock of recognition even in those readers who have been spared the suffering it describes
This blog post is dedicated to the late Haitian blogger and writer, Kreyolicious.