How Do You Show Yourself Love?

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Being a creative person can be hard. You look at the world, and you see trends you’ve seen in fiction—that downward spiral before everything falls to hell. You look at your life and it doesn’t look like it does in your head, or like it should look on the page.

You’re not alone.

Studies have shown that creative people are very prone to depression and mood swings, leaving us susceptible to the terrible proclivity for self-neglect. It’s not that we want to be depressed, and we certainly don’t want to push our friends away, but sometimes we just need to recharge our batteries. This tends to be ten times worse if you’re in a creative rut, doesn’t it? Our inner Eeyore pops out with a compelling, “What’s the point?”

The point is: It will pass.

I’m not trying to diminish your feelings of inadequacy or loneliness or failure. We all have those feelings, especially when it looks like things are going down the toilet faster than we can swim. I just want you to know that it doesn’t last forever.

One day, you’ll emerge from the funk and get back to work, because your art is what you were born to do.

I’ll let you in on a little secret: We all feel like frauds sometimes. We all feel like failures sometimes. It does not make us less than we are, and we are awesome.

So, let me pose my question to you: How do you show yourself love?

I know it can be a nightmare just getting out of bed in the morning, but you still deserve love and you need it most from yourself.

Let me give you some pointers from when I have my bad days, or even days that I just work a little too hard and it doesn’t feel like enough.

1. Tell yourself it’s okay. You’ll get on it when you’re ready. Progress is important, and, unless you have a deadline that you really can’t miss, giving yourself some breathing room is the best possible way to love yourself. You can’t be expected to drive your brain into the ground! If you need to take a day off, take a day off. You don’t need to justify it to anyone.

2. Write through the block. Sometimes, taking a day off makes me feel worse than if I could just write something. So, write something! Don’t pick up your favorite work in progress, though. You may not be able to write to your satisfaction today, and that could make you feel a whole lot worse than you already do.

Try something different. Write a character letter or journal entry and get into your favorite protagonist’s head! Write a letter to yourself. Rant about something! Make list of all the things you love about writing or your current work in progress. Hell, make a list of the reasons you like the spot on the back of your cat’s left ear. It doesn’t matter, just write something. You’d be amazed at how easily it can get the ball rolling.

3. Take a bath or a walk. Go to a part of your city or town you’ve never been to before and explore a bit. (I mean, don’t trespass or anything. Be careful and respectful.) Just settle in and listen to music awhile. Recharge and clear your mind, however you like to do that. Yoga With Adriene is one of my favorites. Regardless of what you choose to do with this ‘down time,’ make sure you take care of yourself doing it.

4. Make a list of all the reasons you became a writer or artist in the first place. It might help rekindle that passion. Remember, though, this is for fun and to show yourself love, so keep the reasons positive!

If you chose to write because you had something bad happen to you that you need to get out, don’t let that dominate your reason. Your reason may be better viewed as using writing to heal or help others. Getting that negativity out can still be positive.

5. Spend time with friends or family. Jared is the one person I know I can rely on to pick me up when I need it. He’s funny, even if he doesn’t have any idea what to say when I’m sad. He knows what I like and what I need—even if it’s Star Trek: Voyager and a cup of coffee.

I know this is a hard one for some of you. I spent several years in Florida, away from the people I love and with no friends in the vicinity. It was hard for me, and I can’t express what it felt like to have no access to my Tribe. If you feel this way, it may not be much, but you can contact me. I’ll be your Tribe. ❤

6. Know that you are enough. That’s it. That’s the bottom line and the pinnacle of self-love. You are enough, and it can be hard to remember that, but it’s ALWAYS true. Always.
You are enough, and the world needs your art.

Battle on,
Kit

What do you do to show yourself love?

Have you ever felt like you had no love for yourself to offer? (<—Then reread number 6, okay?)

A Writerly Christmas List: 6 Gifts for The Writer in Your Life

The holiday season is upon us, my loves!

It seems that, every year, the ‘gifts for writers’ posts start cropping up, and they’re always pretty awesome. Etsy and various geek-centered shops, like ThinkGeek, tend to put out some creative and fun ways to delight the writers and readers in your life during the holidays and all year round.

I’m not going to be posting links to shops here, but I will share a list of ideas for that special person in your life—especially if that special person is a writer. I encourage you to go to Etsy or Amazon or wherever, just pick your poison, and search one of the ideas below. Add your own flair. =]

1. Notebooks. All notebooks are nice, but there’s something special about receiving a journal that caters to our tastes. You can find them at Michael’s, A.C. Moore, or OfficeMax, among others, and they come in a variety of prints, covers, and designs.

If you really want to get fancy, buy a leather cover that takes sized refills. I have one from Barnes & Noble that takes size 4 refills, which is a pretty standard size. I think Mead makes one for cheap. I got mine for about $20, and I’ve had it for 6 years. Last year, my boyfriend made me a new one out of deer and cow hide when he was trying out leather working. It fits the size 4 refills as well, so I can still make use of the ones I bought and stocked up on!

2. Pens. I have a particular type of pen that I like—the Uni Ball Jetstream in 1.0 blue ink—and I can guarantee the writer in your life probably has one, too. Check out what they write with and see if you can get them a package of them. If they don’t write with a particular variety of pen, then buy them a pen you find neat. Cross, Parker, Pilot, and Shaeffer all have awesome refillable pens, and they tend to put out gift sets around this time of year.

I personally like ballpoints, but I’ve got a neat Cross rollerball with gel ink that writes nicely and fits inside my leather notebook. Ballpoint, rollerball, gel, and fountain pens are available in most of the aforementioned brands, so you’ve got some variety to choose from. Cross and Parker pens start at about $20, but you’ve also got options like Monte Blanc that start at $200. It really depends how extravagant you want to go with your pen gift.

3. White board and dry erase markers. I have a 24” x 36” porcelain white board that I do all of my initial brainstorming on, and I love it. If I could upgrade to a wall-sized white board, I’d probably outline every page of my novels on it. You can get inexpensive 18” x 24” boards for about $17 at Walmart, or you can go to somewhere like OfficeMax and get a massive board for upwards of $70, and every size and price point in between. They are absolutely invaluable to my process, and I know many writers who use them as well.

4. Scrivener or Storyist. If your writer has a love for finding new ways to write, one of these writing tools could prove to be revolutionary for them. It allows you to write your story, organize your notes, compile outlines, all in one easy-to-manipulate file. I love Scrivener. I have no idea what I’d do without it.

Scrivener has a Windows and Mac version, but I believe that Storyist is only compatible with Mac. There are tutorials for both all over the internet. Storyist goes for about $40, Scrivener is also $40, but if you’ve won NaNoWriMo, or can get a code from someone who has (Literature & Latte encourages the codes to be shared, so don’t feel bad about it!), then you can get the license for either program for half price.

5. A writers conference or retreat. These are pricey, and I know it’s hard to plunk down, like, $500-$1000 for a weekend-long event, but, if your writer is getting serious about publishing and networking, conferences are invaluable. They allow your writer to network with publishers, agents, editors, and other, more experienced writers.

They’re not hard to find. Just google “writers conference” and your state or surrounding area. There are sites that compile them by location or genre, and niche sites that host their own.

There you have it! Happy Holidays!
Kit

What are some gifts you’d recommend for the writers in your life? What do you, as a writer, want for Christmas/Hanukkah/Yule?