Being an Author is a Head Game: What can you do to get to and stay at the top of yours?
Here’s the secret shame list written in bold on many writers’ mental notepads:
- Writer imposter syndrome and general lack of confidence.
- Anxiety about not being good enough or not being the ‘ideal image’ of a writer.
- Not wanting to stick your head up to share or pitch your manuscript.
- Comparisonitis (more painful than tonsillitis and a serious affliction of authors 😉).
- Too embarrassed to ask for help.
- Waning in creative energy.
- Losing interest in your current writing project to chase the next shiny thing.
- Wondering if you can ever write as well again.
- FOMO as other writers get book deals, win awards or hang out with the ‘it’ author or publishing crew.
- Fear of… rejection, of never getting a literary agent or book deal.
- Fear of… marketing your book, of family and friends (and social media) reactions.
- Fear of… failure.
- Fear of… not finishing (or not even getting started!).
- Fear of… finishing, and then the book launch train moving on from your book and you.
- Stuck. Just stuck.
Any of these feelings/scenarios and author mindset breakers sound familiar?
According to author and writing mentor Dr Helen Edwards, there are many steps we can take as fiction and non-fiction writers to improve our mental health (and output). Some of them begin with understanding and acknowledging how our background and current circumstances (including financial and the need to work or care for others) play into our motivation for and the execution (or not!) of our writing goals.
I for one, have been learning so much working alongside Helen during the creation of her new global online course, The Resilient Writer. For many years I’ve been beavering away in my little introvert author headspace, so it’s been great to access and be enriched by material specifically for the mental health challenges—and opportunities—that writers face.
Helen, who has a PhD in Psychology and is a well-loved and respected member of the writing community, does it in such a warm, approachable, and wise way that it’s like being nurtured and inspired one-on-one. So, though there’s no secret sauce or magic potion you can take to instantly transform into a confident, motivated writer, this course is an important building block to get you there – and help keep you there!
The on-demand course, The Resilient Writer, includes 4 hours of video content plus useful downloads and exercises. It’ s organised so it’s easy to jump in and out of modules and classes so you can quickly focus in on the areas you’re currently feeling pain in and need help or guidance with. This course is suitable for authors and writers from around the world, writing in any genre, and at any stage of their career.
There are lessons and modules, including topics such as:
- Healthy ways to respond to negativity about your writing (from yourself and others).
- How to stick at the long game. Filling yourself up, nurturing your creativity and your wellbeing. Knowing when to rest and when to write.
- How to deal with all the non-writing business of being an author.
- Working through writer’s block… and all the other blocks authors face.
- Preserving your mental health as a writer.
- How to work out if it’s nerves or author anxiety? Burnout, depression or low mood? And what to do about it.
- The physical aspects of author mental health.
- Writing if you’re neurodivergent or are living with chronic physical health issues.
- Finding your place in the writing community.
- Navigating your path when you have too many ideas (or not enough).
- What about when you make it? What then? Dealing with the limbo spaces, the launch of your book, public speaking, and the aftermath of your book (and hopes and dreams) coming into the world.
- Going public with your book—confidently!
Helen includes special exercises for writers including ‘Big Sky Thinking for Writers’ and the concept of ‘The Writer’s Coat’ to help authors (new, emerging, mid-career and legendary) to refill their cups with confidence and creativity.
As Helen says and shows: ‘Find and listen to your own beating heart as a writer and you’ll protect yourself from distractions and becoming demoralised.’
The course is here to help YOU find your own ‘beating heart’ as an author, and includes information on the many emotional, social, mental health tools and supports you might need to keep your author career, not just on track, but powering away.
You can find out more about Dr Helen Edwards and The Resilient Writer course here. You have nothing to lose and so much to gain by investing in your understanding of what it takes mentally to be a successful author. I wish I’d done this course years ago.
Nb: The course is modestly priced for the wealth of information contained, and the understanding and actions it will inspire in you, but Helen has also generously offered authors who are keen to enrol but find the cost prohibitive to get in touch via Bold Authors to discuss a special consideration discount.
On behalf of the writing community, thanks Dr Helen for everything you have put into this online mindset course for authors.