12 Ways to Keep Writing When You’re Struggling With Your Mental Health

Shorten your to-do list!

1. Take every task/assignment one word at a time. Even if it takes all day.

2. Shorten your to-do list. Instead of writing 5 things, focus on writing just 1.

3. If you have to write 5 things, try your best to focus on one at a time. It will all get done.

4. Write something “fun” that makes you feel good even if it’s actually terrible.

5. Write about what’s bothering you, even if no one will ever see it.

6. Turn your frustrations/worries into art and put it out there. Someone may be able to relate to it.

7. Keep in mind the time(s) of day you’re most productive. Push yourself to write only during those times.

8. During your downtime, it’s OK to think about writing — but don’t do it. Rest is important.

9. If it’s a weird/inconvenient moment and you suddenly feel motivated to write, make it happen somehow. Something is better than nothing …

10. Schedule writing time — but schedule relaxation/self-care time, too. Make sure it happens, and try not to feel guilty about it!

11. Also, be honest with yourself. If you can’t today, that’s OK. Try again tomorrow. Really try!

12. Keep breathing. Even if the words aren’t coming to you now, they’re not gone forever.

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a 10-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

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6 thoughts on “12 Ways to Keep Writing When You’re Struggling With Your Mental Health

  1. great post. yes, shorten that to-do list. one tiny step at a time. just concentrate at one thing at a time – then the next thing. i know the feelings of resistance and overwhelm so well. the moving through deep mud.

  2. One of my favorite techniques is to try and use it. I focus on the emotions, the experience, and I ask myself if it at all relates to what the character is going through now, and if not, what if the character reacted this way?
    There is a way in which it can be gratifying to “use my mental/emotional pain” as building materials for my story. Granted, it doesn’t always work, and sometimes I do need to go easy on myself, or write without purpose or incumbence, but often I’m reluctant to “accept the easy route” too readily, as that itself can become a bad habit (for me).

    1. I’m totally with you on this. I’ve reread a few of my former WIPs and can tell I didn’t hold back when putting my characters through similar situations as me to help me deal with them. I may not use most of them now, but back then, I suppose I really needed to tell those stories.

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