Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Take Care of You

As artists, we have the ability to be incredibly self-critical. We insult ourselves ("You're a horrible writer!"), reprimend ourselves for not writing, and have a knack for feeling lower than dirt when we don't think we'll ever be published/get the plot right/find the right words.

Those are the bad days.

I've been experiencing those bad days lately, and last night, I finally realized something. If I were to say the things I've been thinking about myself to anyone else, it would be emotional abuse.

So why on earth am I doing it to myself?

It needs to stop.

Writer and creative coach Julia Cameron says, "When you feel yourself to be in critical condition, you must treat yourself as gently as you would a sick friend.”

If you're in a critical place, if the writing isn't flowing, if you can't get started on the next novel or can't for the life of you imagine how you'll finish your current work, then treat yourself gently. Don't criticize. Don't berate. Don't threaten. You wouldn't do that to a sick person, would you? No. So don't do it to yourself.

Be kind to you. Take care of you.

And most important, keep believing in you.


  1. Well said Melissa!

    I believe in you too! :)

  2. Melissa, the thoughts of a writer could make a book of their own! Thanks for sharing, we've all been there. I'm sending you a cup of virtual decaf to linger with and take a little contemplative break. But tomorrow? Back to writing :)

  3. Sending you some hugs and chocolate-and I believe in you too:)

  4. It's so true! The pressure we put on ourselves, it's ridiculous. I'll take you advice and let up a bit if you promise to be gentle on yourself, too!

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  6. I'm learning now too, and will often stop myself and ask what it would look like if I said it to anyone else, and what I'd say if someone said it to a friend. You've been on a roll, you've been doing well. Maybe this is just a little glitch before the next escalating episode. Are you doing NaNo?

  7. A good lesson to remember no matter what the situation we're beating ourselves up over is. And yes, I realize that is horrible grammar, my caffeine hasn't kicked in yet. ;)

  8. Great insights daughter:-) And I love how you change your blog to fit the seasons - it is awesome - so colorful:-)

  9. I was in that spot this summer. I couldn't sit down to work on my editing. I was in avoidance, and I hated myself for it because my first reaction was to chalk it up to laziness.

    But there was a little bit of "sickness" that i was still recovering from. Thanks for the reminder not to beat up sick people - even ourselves.

  10. So well said. When I feel this way I want to crawl inside myself, just disappear. Then I pray, even though I usually don't feel like it, because what could God really want from me?

    Then, well, then I usually end up crying because in those drifting moments I'm reminded all that I do mean to Him. And Melissa, you do too. :))) Even these bad days are for some purpose. Love and prayers are sent your way, and I'll say some for myself. Goodness knows we all can use some TLC...

  11. Lovely post, Melissa. Something we all need to remember more often...

  12. Well said Melissa though I think as writers we all have a lot of self doubt don't we? It's part of our make up....


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