How to Reclaim Your Purpose as an Author
*If you are new here, WELCOME! For How to Reclaim Your Purpose as an Author, I share a few techniques to overcome your funk, reclaim your author purpose, and get writing again!
Please note this is not intended as a substitute for therapy. If you are facing a serious mental health issue, please reach out and find professional help.
It’s early in the morning and the house is quiet except for the sound of my “good-intentions” alarm. I roll over in the darkness, feeling the cool air hit my arm as I reach out to turn off the alarm, and then I slip my hand back into the warmth of my covers and snuggle deeper into my bed.
It might seem like an innocent enough gesture, but, despite the fact that my body is relaxed and still half-asleep, my mind is whirling in a tumultuous battle of shoulds and buts.
I SHOULD get out of bed and enjoy working in this early morning solitude before my kids wake up and need me, BUT I also need the rest because I know what the day with two busy toddlers holds.
I SHOULD get out of bed and work towards my goals, BUT what’s the point because …. no one is reading my work, I still haven’t gotten that story published, what difference is my writing really making in the world (ETC.).
You get my gist. And, I’ve bet you’ve been there, too. Maybe it’s late at night that you’ve set aside time, but you DESERVE to binge Netflix after that long, hard day. Maybe it’s during your kids’ nap time or on your lunch break, but something always comes up and destroys your good intentions of writing again.
Whatever time or situation it is, I get it.
In the beginning it might seem just like a productivity/laziness issue (see my excuse #1), but after a while, if you’re noticing excuses more like my second one above, you might be facing a deeper issue. (If you feel like your issue is more like writer’s block/productivity, check out this post!)
Authors are often prone to sliding down the slippery slope of writer’s funk and into depression because they see what the world could be and how it comes short, they feel deeply, and their work is highly subjective.
The last part may be the hardest, because, though you might have started creating as an avenue of therapy in itself, after a while it becomes important to most writers that others connect with and share some bit of enthusiasm for the art that is being created. And, if that isn’t happening or if it’s stalled in any way, it can send you into a tailspin of questioning everything including your purpose as an author or writer.
And, I bet, despite the stereotypes of the depressed writer and your well-meaning family’s jokes about you being a “moody artist,” that you set out on this journey because you saw the world in a different way, you noticed some beauty others didn’t, and you wanted to make a difference in the world through your writing. When those things fail to happen, it makes the journey all the more difficult and depression can easily set in.
So, let’s talk about some ways to reset your mindset and recenter on your author purpose so that you can get back to changing the world with your words!
Find Others You Can Encourage
“The best antidote to depression is helping other people.”
I once had a professor say this in class and as much as I turned the thought over and tried to shred it apart, I couldn’t help but think that maybe he was absolutely right.
Creatives are often introverts who are incredibly introspective, leading to some serious navel gazing if not careful.
Maybe the best thing for you to do right now to push through your lull, recenter on your author purpose, and get those writing juices flowing is to help someone else and get your mind off of your own problems for just a little while. You started the creative journey to make a difference in the world.
To get back on track, this might look like doing charity work or helping out a family member or anything to simply get out of your own head for a while.
And, it might look like connecting with and encouraging other writers who aren’t quite at your writing level yet.
This will do two things:
- 1) It will help you start talking and thinking about writing again in a positive way.
- 2) It will boost your confidence when you realize you really have come a long way and have a lot to offer.
Join a Writing Community
To do that you need to have a writing community. Writing can be a solitary and lonely thing, so it’s your job (yes, yours!) to reach out and find a community.
I know, I know, I’m not a huge fan of critique groups either. But did you know there are plenty of other ways to connect with the writing community in a positive way?
I’ve joined groups like Hope*Writers and the Women’s Fiction Writers Association where I found smart and helpful authors willing to connect and to cheer one another on in the writing journey. Sure, you can ask for critique partners if you want, but most members are there just for the community.
Look for organizations that focus on your genre or connect in a way that speaks to your lifestyle and join them if you can. It’s an easy way to have others speak affirmation into your life and for you to do the same for them (see point #1 above!).
Here’s just a few of the writer’s organizations out there:
- Women’s Fiction Writers Association
- International Thriller Writers
- Alliance of Independent Authors
- Romance Writers of America
- Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America
- Association of Writers and Writing Programs (primarily literary fiction and poetry)
An ugly word to many, but when you’re in the middle of a funk, accountability can be the best thing for you. When you can’t force yourself to do what you need to do and when you’ve read the 1,000th productivity tip and it still isn’t helping because there’s something deeper going on, accountability can be exactly what’s needed to pull you from the mire.
For example, by writing this post I’m now accountable to you, dear reader, and will likely find that alone helps me get out of bed a little earlier.
That said, you might want accountability from someone closer to you like a spouse or a sibling or a parent. Or, even that new writing community you are going to join…
It feels absolutely uncomfortable to ask someone to check on you and to give you a gracious nudge when needed, but it can make a world of difference. And, I bet there’s someone in your circle of influence who might be longing for the same kind of gentle encouragement and accountability.
Writing is hard, writing when questioning your purpose as an author or a writer is harder, but I hope this has encouraged you that you aren’t alone. Many creatives face writing slumps–time and time again. Consider trying one of these steps (or all three) to get you back to a healthy creative life and recenter on your author purpose.
If you are struggling with Writer’s Block (another common issue) check out my post on that here!
Have you questioned your purpose during your creative journey? What has helped you along the way? Leave any resources you’ve found in the comments below! You can also add a simple “Me Too!” as an accountability statement!
Until next time, Happy Writing!
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