Five Ways to Stay Sane as a Writer – (by an author who lost her sanity a long time ago)

1.      BE PATIENT: If you’ve just written a novel, you may, like others, be eager to share it with the world, even though the prospect of doing so can be as daunting as it is exciting. Unfortunately, in their excitement, many authors query agents or self-publish way before their manuscripts are ready.

Take a deep breath. Relax. Remember, it’s much better to wait to put out your best work than to rush and put out a sloppy version of what could have been really good. Take time to edit and rewrite, then have a professional editor work on it. Putting out your best work will be a great boost to your mental health. Kicking yourself for not waiting isn’t helpful. Besides, you might hurt yourself.


2.      COMPETE WITH YOURSELF FIRST: It’s easy to look around to see what everyone else is doing and wonder why your books aren’t selling as well as Joe Author’s books are. While you can learn a lot from watching how successful authors do things, don’t let the success or failure of others take over your thoughts. Don’t try to outwrite other authors; instead, outwrite yourself. Remember that you are a unique product. You’re not a carbon copy of anyone else and you shouldn’t be. Compete with yourself. Be the best writer you can be.

3.      FIGURE OUT HOW YOU WORK BEST: Some writers, while crafting their masterpiece, find it helpful to share with critique groups both on- and offline, as well as with family and friends. For others, the input of outsiders during the creative process can be stifling. Will the editorial critique help you more during or after the process of writing? What works best for you? Don’t make the mistake of sharing your work with ten different people and getting ten different opinions, unless you know it will galvanize you and not shut your muse down in frustration.

4.      DON’T LET SOCIAL MEDIA CONSUME YOU:  Building a platform on social media is very important. It’s not something that you should do when your book comes out; it’s something you should do at least six months prior to publication. That said, it can be addictive, exhausting, stressful, confusing or all of the above. Find a balance that works for you. Decide what amount of time is reasonable for each platform and try to adhere to that. Use the rest of your valuable time to create your product. Balance. Balance. Balance.


5.      REMEMBER THAT NO WORK OF ART IS LIKED BY EVERYONE—EVER:  There is no book, no song, no painter, no singer, no movie, no TV show, no poet, no anything that is liked by everyone. Keep this in mind as you put your work out there. In a parallel universe, we want to believe that everyone will like our work, but they won’t. Do your best, define your style, put out your best work, and your readers will come.

Tell me, what methods have you attempted to keep your sanity? Have they worked?





  1. Such a good post, great advice! It’s similar to one I did the other week called Dos and Don’ts for new novelists – I think we can all benefit from reading this stuff even if we’ve been ‘at it’ for years!

  2. Hi, Terry:

    Thanks so much. When I wrote this post, my idea was really to write affirmations for what most writers already know. I know it helps me to be reminded. I’m still going, so something must be working.

    So nice of you to stop by.


  3. Excellent advice, Lisette 🙂 It’s so easy to get impatient or to be put off by negative feedback. You’ve highlighted some important points. I think these days #4 is the hardest to master 😉

  4. This is such good advice, Lisette! Each of us is different as a writer, and we’ll each appeal to different readers. We work differently, we have different approaches and so on. The key is finding, as you say, what works for us as individual writers.

    • Hi, Margot:

      Great seeing you here. It’s really fascinating how different each writer’s process can be. Hosting writers at my chateau each week has made me even more aware of our similarities and our differences. Sometimes, we can get good tips from other writers, but it’s not helpful to emulate anyone just for the sake of it.

      See you at your fantastic blog, Confessions of A Mystery Novelist. You’re amazing!



  5. Hi, Maria:

    Thanks so much for stopping by. It is very difficult to be upset by negative feedback, but we just have to remember that no one escapes it and it’s part of the package, unfortunately.

    For many, it is very difficult not to be consumed by social media. I often use the FOCUS feature on MS Word that gives you a full-screen page so that you can’t see anything else in the background. That, and a strong will, helps a lot.

    Happy Writing!

  6. Hi, Rich:

    I couldn’t agree more. I cannot do what the world wants if I don’t like it. Such a great point.


  7. Great points! I’ve been writing for years and it took a long time just to get published. Social media drives me nuts! I do the minimal because I have to, but I prefer to spend my time writing.

    • Thanks, Susan.

      I think many of us enjoy social media, but the real problem is when we feel that we MUST do it, especially when we want to be writing. It’s easy to become resentful but better to just find a way to balance it all. Easier said than done, huh? Happy writing and thanks for stopping by!