As a YA author, there’s always a little juggling trick you have to do between taking care of yourself and taking care of your readers. Sometimes you’re strained too thin between deadlines, or fending off insecurities, or the stress of making sure you’re putting forth the best work possible. And sometimes that piles up into a big mountain of Anxiety.
For the past few years, I’ve been living with depression and anxiety. It absolutely affects my work. There are days when all I want to do is lie in bed, and even when the guilt of not working makes me tense and mournful, I just can’t get up. There are also days when all the “what ifs” and “have beens” surround me like gnats, swarming and biting until I’m short of breath and unable to focus.
There’s no simple cure for this. There’s no one piece of advice that’s going to work for everyone. The trick, then, is figuring out what works best for you.
Find out what your triggers are. Find out when you generally feel best during the day, and when you feel the worst. Find little things that make you happy, if only temporarily, like a really good cup of tea or an episode of your favorite show. (Also, staying away from social media really helps).
And if you really can’t work, take care of yourself. It’s okay to take a break, to settle your mind, to refill the well. There’s so much pressure to be constantly working and producing and submitting and trying, but let me tell you right now, two books in: rest as much as you can. Treat yourself to something special whenever you can, because you absolutely deserve it.
There will be days when you’re going to juggle too much, and it’s going to be overwhelming.
And some days, you’re going to drop the balls.
And that’s okay.
The important thing is to pick them back up and try again, slowly, one ball at a time.