Writing Tips Round Up: Mental health and self-care4 min read
A weekly round up of writing tips and inspiration
“I was never embarrassed to admit my depression to others. I think being a writer I had a ‘get out of jail free’ card, in the sense that people saw it as part of the territory of being ‘creative’. I’d like to see that consideration afforded to anyone suffering depression.”
The Mind website for mental health is a wealth of information for taking care of yourself, but for writers specifically, their interview last year with Cold Feet writer Mike Bullen is a particularly good read. He discusses writing a character with depression, how much he drew from his own experiences with this illness, and his advice for others going through the same.
“Antagonists need motivation, too – in fact, antagonists need to believe they are the protagonist of their story, and therefore need to be able to justify their actions within a comprehensible framework. If they also happen to have anxiety which makes them a bit of an awkward conversationalist, that’s simply an added character nuance. This isn’t about mental health, this is about quality writing.”
Writer’s HQ have flipped the scope and provide some advice on writing responsibly about your own characters’ mental health issues. Avoid the tropes of mad villains and cure-all love: don’t help to spread misconceptions about mental health.
“Emotional depth and a heightened sense of empathy are characteristics that usually set writers apart. However, depression and anxiety do not have to be an inevitable part of a successful writer’s career.”
Writer’s Edit encourage friends, fresh air, and plenty of routine with their wellbeing tips for writers.
“My goals for April’s Camp NaNo made writing a little too stressful, so I had to take a step back and evaluate writing. I write because I enjoy it! Not to induce gallons of stress. So taking a break and waiting to feel the yearn and the reason to return to the story again is a good decision for me.”
A Camp Nano participant talks about not pushing yourself past your own limits when writing, and reevaluating your goals when they become too much.
“Spending too much time in your own head is not always healthy. Spending time in other peoples’ heads can’t always be healthy either.”
Finally, here’s our own blogger Jenny to put you on your guard when dabbling in themes such as violence and depression: specifically, not to take on your own characters’ emotions when writing them into dark places.
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