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A Self-Care Mantra for Writers
By Luna Lark
I am worth more than that essay due tomorrow. Or that poem that literary magazines keep rejecting. Or that chapbook of mine that no press seems to want (at least not enough because the rejection letters are so achingly kind.) I am worth more than the marketing plan I still have to write for a client who has forgotten that I am human. I am worth more than the social media strategy I submitted yesterday that a client has not yet approved. I am worth more than the package of blog posts a client approved but has not yet paid me for. I am worth more than every letter, every word, every paragraph, every page that I write because I long to write and then those that I write because I must survive.
You, too, dear writer, are worth more than all of these pretty things and the petty ones, too.
I will always try my best, but never harm myself if I fail. I will try to hit every deadline, or even beat it. Yet I know there are some I will miss. A source will not call me back in time. My Internet will suddenly cut out. My laptop will eat a document. I will try my best to have a back-up plan, but I am not perfect. Sometimes I will need a back-up plan for my back-up plan and not have one. I might rankle a client or even lose a client forever. But I will not harm myself. I will learn. I will forgive myself. I will do better, as much as I am able.
Promise me, dear writer, that you will do the same.
I will do what I can to ease the everyday burdens of being a writer in a Capitalist society. I will ask my supervisor if I can start the day an hour or two later. I will ask my supervisor if I can work from home. I will work in bed sometimes to be more comfortable, even though I know I am more productive when I work at the kitchen table. I will occasionally stop to look out the window, take a walk, and enjoy city sights or Mother Nature. I will not push myself into exhaustion just to grab one more byline or one more check. When I need to rest, I will rest. Perhaps sometimes this will mean that I step back from writing, either for pleasure or for profit.
Promise me, dear writer, that you, too, will love yourself. Promise me that you will take care of yourself in a society that takes and takes and often gives so little back to you.