It feels like forever since I last posted! And truthfully, since the last of my posts my life has gone through some serious gymnastics. No matter who you are and what you do for work and how you relate to the events in your life, it can be easy to slip into a funk. It’s even possible, when things are really bad, to feel like the victim of circumstances rather than an empowered human being with agency of your own.
Or is that just me?
Let’s just say that the last few weeks have been difficult ones, full and busy and also strangely rewarding in the ways they have forced me to reckon with my own approach to things such as work and play.
Here’s what I have learned, especially as pertains to work.
It’s okay to take a step back sometimes.
To be perfectly honest, some of us could do with a stern glance or a word of kindly suggestion along these lines, and I was (and still am) one of them. It is so, so very easy to conflate performance–whether at work or elsewhere, but especially at work–with personal value and self-estimation. But life doesn’t always set you up to succeed, and while I’m not going to nudge you along the path to the aforementioned victim-of-circumstance place, I do think that sometimes we need to recognize this fact (that life doesn’t always set us up to succeed) and give ourselves the room to slow down and step back a little bit from the pressures of performance. Self-worth shouldn’t reside in how many spreadsheets you churn out or how many customers you manage to sell on a product; self-worth ought to reside in your love and respect for self, which goes way beyond what happens between 8 am and 6 pm–or whatever hours you keep as a writer and otherwise.
Giving yourself a bit of distance, emotionally or practically by taking a break, can help you refocus and re-envision your relationship to your work. Does your work give you a sense of purpose and value? Great! Does it cross the line into being your primary or only source of self-worth? Break time!
You’ve got to stand up for what you believe in.
Part of the beauty of the business we’re in is that we have the opportunity to tell stories and give voice to those outside of the mainstream publishing market. In a sense, everyone who gets into self-publishing is already doing a bit of standing up and speaking out, just by daring to put words out there in the world, so it seems like a natural fit for those of involved in indie publishing to take it just one or two steps further. Whatever feels comfortable. Or uncomfortable, as the case may sometimes be.
The ethics I have learned on the job over the last few years have set me up really well to question the way things are when those ways and things do not line up with what is good and right. I wouldn’t be who I am today without the power that self-publishing has lent my voice, and the encouragement of some amazing friends and coworkers to make sure that what I want and need isn’t lost in the shuffle. Whether you’re pursuing the publication of a new book or seeking to put some of the distracting white noise of a drama-filled personal environment aside so that you can focus on writing and on self-care, don’t forget that you are worth standing up for, and sometimes the best person to stand up for you is … you.
No matter what challenges you face this week, I hope you know that …
You are not alone. ♣︎
Do you have ideas to share? Please don’t hesitate to drop us a line in the comments section, and I’ll make sure to feature your thoughts and respond to them in my next post!