Many writers (and creative people in general) struggle with mental illness, myself included. And it’s not as charming or helpful or inspiring for our work as some people try to make it seem. At the very least, writers are often stereotyped to be depressed. And I’m not joking when I say that there are people out there in the world who believe that creatives have to be mentally ill in order to create some kind of art. My opinion, in one word, is just… no.
Writing while being mentally ill (from my experience) is occasionally borderline impossible. On a good day, it can be incredibly difficult. It’s not fun and it makes you feel like quitting or missing out on opportunities or not enjoy something that you truly love. It’s a fight to keep going, and sometimes you just need support. Being stigmatised or told you’re ‘broken’ or that you should be mentally ill because you’re a creative are some of the worst and least helpful things.
So, from the experience of a writer with a mental illness, here are some things I do to keep me writing.
I have been writing seriously for eleven years. I’ve been writing novels for only five years, and I self-published my debut novel less than two years ago. I still have a lot to learn about being a writer and being an author. I still feel like a little kid sat at my dad’s giant computer and mashing the keyboard until a story appeared on Notepad.
But I’ve made progress from those days eleven years ago. And I’ve done a lot of things that I know have helped me get here.
So, here are five things I do to become a better writer.
When I was thirteen, I started writing a book which became my first published novel. It’s self-published, but it’s out in the world for people to read, so I think that technically makes me an author? I’d like to think that I’m slowly rising as an author since the short stories I wrote as a seven-year-old to help me learn my spellings.
For this blog, I’m answering questions from The Rising Author Tag which I believe was created by Jem Jones.
My writing mode is either wildly typing every single word I can think of or curling up in the corner crying with a notebook and pencil and an empty page. There is rarely any middle ground. So, in honour of writing, I’m going to be answering some writing related questions.
‘Beautiful People’ is a project created by a book blog that I love (Paper Fury), aimed at writers. Every month, they post a list of ten questions for people to answer, designed to help you get to know their characters – their quirks, their flaws, their personality, and who they are. Occasionally, there are groups of questions aimed at the writers and their writing progress, rather than just what they’re writing about.
For this blog, I’m going to be answering a group of questions. I believe that this group is the January 2016 group (I updated the years in the questions so it fits in with the current time), and I’d love to see everyone else’s responses to these questions. I’ll put the complete list of questions at the very end of the blog.
I mentioned this in my last post – Bookish Facts About Me – but I thought I’d talk about it in a bit more detail in it’s own post.
Some time in either March or April, I submitted the first three chapters of my novel ‘Beauty in the Breakdown’ to a publishing company. At this point, I had already self-published the book, something which I thought would come up as an issue with any company, but I still wanted to try anyway as I can take down the book at any point.
The company liked the chapters I submitted to them and I ended sending them the full manuscript. At the end of April, they offered me a publishing contract.
If you follow me on social media, you might have seen that I’ve been planning on self-publishing it for a while. Now, the story is finished, meaning that this little dream is finally becoming a reality. The book is now available for purchase on Amazon. Here is what it looks like:
Since I haven’t worked out the best plan for promotion yet, I decided that I would do a tag so I can explain the book further to anyone who is interested.