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Be Good to Yourself

By John Bond

We have all read the stories about mental health over the past few years, particularly in the wake of COVID (not that it is gone). Whether articles about depression, anxiety, loneliness, or other challenges, mental health has been elevated in our national discourse. Thankfully.

All of that being said, mental health can have an effect on your writing, in both directions. Lack of progress, a false start, a problematic co-author, or movement in the wrong direction can hit a writer hard. It can cause one to question the work they are doing, or just stop. It can activate or exacerbate depression or anxiety, particularly if there are hard deadlines such as tenure review or a due date on a book contract.

Likewise, if a person is depressed for other reasons in their life, it can present a real roadblock to writing. Procrastination or “writer’s block” (a term I am not a fan of), many times can stem back to other issues a person is experiencing.

The good news is we are not in it alone. Most people have a sympathetic ear. Sometimes it is literally one person, but that might be enough. If you feel you don’t have one, I am here. (Hand waving). I have been there. Felt very down and needed someone to talk me through it. My contact information is readily accessible, and I’d love to hear your issues if you have no one that understands the challenges of writing and mental health. This is not a casual offer, but a real one.

But hopefully you have a relative, friend, or colleague that can appreciate the intertwined nature of the writing and mental health journey. If we were to speak, some of my recommendations might be:

    • Get out and take a walk outside.
    • Make sure you are hydrated and eating right.
    • Call a friend and chat about fun stuff.
    • Read a novel.
    • Do an activity that makes you happy.
    • Revisit your project from 20,000 feet or take a step back.
    • Show yourself some grace, as you would a colleague.
    • A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
    • Take things less seriously.
    • One small step, write maybe just 200 words.
    • Be good to yourself.

And you can always give me a call.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. NAMI is a great organization with lots of great resources. Check them out here. Be well.

John BondJohn Bond is a publishing consultant at Riverwinds Consulting. His new book is: The Little Guide to Getting Your Book Published: Simple Steps to Success. He is also the host of the YouTube channel “Publishing Defined.” Contact him at

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