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Self-Care For Indie-Authors – Are you taking time for you?

Being someone who does everything at a million miles an hour - running a business and being a mum of two, self-care is something I have had to learn to squeeze into a day. Why is it important to me? Because otherwise, I end up doing ALL the things and am forever putting myself last… and then suffering the mental health consequences.

I know it’s tricky fitting everything in. Perhaps self-care feels like just another thing to add to the list. Perhaps labelling ‘self-care’ isn’t your thing? Or maybe you’re already a self-care guru. As you read this blog post, please bear in mind that this comes from my own experiences. It’s also not intended to be preachy. I might dislike some aspects of self-publishing that you absolutely love or suggest something that’s just not your thing – different strokes for different folks and all that.

With that said, shall we?

Perhaps you’re a full-time indie-author, or maybe it’s a side hustle that you fit in around other work or commitments. Despite it being the BEST job in the world – it’s not without its stressors, is it? Personally, it feels like there are always gazillions of things on my to-do list – and never enough hours in the day.

And, of course, the more books I publish, the harder it seems to get.

Even if it is the best job in the world, there are always those bits of the job you won’t enjoy doing so much. For me, I find it harder to get excited about marketing (What? Tell everyone about how good my book is? Cringe! Are you crazy?), oh and accounting (words yay, but numbers? Not so much!).

I find launching a book the most stressful time.

Have you heard of that new film Everything Everywhere All At Once?

That title sums up launch time for me. All that planning and hard work has to come together. It’s the culmination of all that mental effort, all that heart you’ve put into your work. Sleepless nights and deadlines, decisions and planning, and then, most terrifyingly, people start to read your book… and then the reviews start coming in… I find it excruciating!

It’s not all stress, of course. Writing, editing and the book creation process are my FAVOURITE parts of the job. I love them. I could literally spend all my time doing these bits – going to bed late, missing meals and other commitments to focus on them. I love it, so it doesn’t really feel like work at all – but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t take its toll on my mental health.

It does.

I often get caught out feeling low, run down and tired. All signs that I was burning out. Those late nights and early mornings, the skipped or rushed meals and missing out on socialising were catching up with me. I know a lot of authors and a lot of creatives in other fields often feel this way too. So absorbed by their work that they stop noticing the world around them, only to emerge exhausted and worried about how their work will be received by the world.

At first, I saw this as a bit of a failing. I’d conjured the image of the successful authorpreneur in my mind as someone relentless in their drive to succeed. If I needed to rest, then I saw this as me not making the cut.

It is important to know that this isn’t the case at all. Everyone needs to give themselves a break, and there is no way you can do your best work while you feel like that. I don’t know about you, but I want to be in it for the long haul – not just until I break myself.

My self-care began as virtually non-existent, as you may have gathered from this blog post. And if that’s the same for you, I’m here to tell you it’s time to start putting yourself first – or at the very least, a bit further forward from the back of the line.

Next post, I’ll talk about how I got a bit of balance in my life (most of the time) and what I do to look after myself and my mental health.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear whether self-care on your agenda? Are you taking time for you? What are your thoughts?

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