I am still under the weather, but I am out of bed, which is what counts! Despite the grey and oppressive sky we are under, there are still things to be thankful for. (e.g. crispy and juicy sausages for breakfast, the always heartfelt chocolate mini croissants with powdered sugar) And please don’t ask me why I have to always inform you of the weather here. It just means a lot to me. (Sunny weather hasn’t killed anyone…I mean, funeral scenes are usually not sunny, eh?)
So today, I wanted to kick off a new monthly series, Author Health. I usually have most of my blog posts planned till the next five months or more–yes, I am that crazy over-planner–but midway through my said planned posts, I realised something: This is not the thing I want to read about. *proceeds to chuck the schedule into a trash can*
Now, don’t get me wrong, I like the new blog posts focusing more on book reviews and such. Afterall, this is a writer’s blog. An integral part of author life is consuming books and dissecting them.
But the thing is, blogging is so much more than writing posts to gain readership. Blogs wouldn’t be possible without you, dear readers. At the same time, I too am a reader of my own blog. If I don’t even like or feel benefited from what I was writing, would my readers too?
I think for a lot of us, the COVID-19 crisis enlightened us on what mattered most. For me, I realised that my mental health, especially as an author, was something that I needed to hear more on.
So without further ado, let’s dive right into Author Health: Why Authors Need Families…
1: The Idea
To start off, let me explain a bit the background of Author Health. It is a fact universally well-known that authors, especially famous ones, tend to have horrible mental health. [Virgina, Pavitra] I don’t even have to consult a list to name great Japanese authors who have killed themselves.
Guys, it doesn’t take a genius to figure this out: The prospect of being an author and surviving life sucks. Even “normal” people with “normal” jobs suffer from mental well-being [CAMH]. The statistics are dire.
I personally have struggled over the years with depression and anxiety, both related and not related to my career decision. So I thought, “Hey, wouldn’t it be great if there was an inspirational post at the start of each month veered specifically for authors’ mental health?”
Voila! Here we are.
2: What Families Are
The very first topic that came to my mind was Families and Authors. It’s kind of funny how the people who are the closest to us are usually our most avid fans and also the greatest enemies of distractions. More often than not distractions.
From looking through many definitions of families, I came up with one that I like best:
Yup, that’s true. No matter how “diverse” families have become, it’s still the people you somehow eat dinner with every single day because you’re somehow related to each other. They’re the ones who see the ugliest parts of you and also the people who claim understands you the best.
Utterly weird, and wonderful.
They are your best allies and even when they feel like they’re mortal enemies, are actually the people who will stand by you till the end.
3: Family Off-Time
And one thing that they help you do is to take an off-time. Sometimes I get so caught up in whatever project I’m doing I don’t move from my seat for five hours. Five. Straight. Hours. See how this could be problematic?
This is where my family drags me outside for a walk or karate session. (Despite what people think, karate-chops are one of the most ineffective attacks. I’ve broken boards with a chop. It took me three painful tries to get it right.)
Without my family, I would probably resort to eating ramen all week, not taking proper breaks, or hydrating correctly. Everyone needs someone who drags them away from the desk. And whip up gorgeous dinners.
Not that I’m saying that’s all families are good for, per se. They’re also good for a myriad of things I won’t say here since it’s supposed to be PG.
4: Families before Work
Yes, you heard that right. Although authoring is a very serious business that involves balancing day work and tons of other responsibilities, family relation is more important than all of them combined. It doesn’t matter if you finally got your book deal but your old parents are gibbering in a senior home. Or worse, dead. The time you spend or don’t spend with the people who helped you become you won’t come back after they are past.
God, family, then work. That sums up my priorities. Having a healthy relationship with your family is the first step in an excellent author health. No matter what is happening in your life, eat a meal together at least once a day. Or give your parents and siblings a call if you live away from home. Just remember to make a space for family at the top of your life. Trust me, it makes a whole lot of change by just deciding to talk to them.
And lastly, take some time to be with yourself. You’re also a family member that matters. Spend time for devotions in the mornings. Journal. You are always more than your achievements.
What did you think? Do you spend time with your family? What do you think is crucial for author health? Let me know in the comments below; I’d love to chat with you!