I wrote for close to twenty years before making writing my happy place. Instead it was “my business”, “my focus”, “what I wanted to do.” And sure, I enjoyed crafting and releasing the stories. Loved hearing from readers with feedback on them. Loved cashing the royalty checks. But when it came to sitting down and writing I approached it in much the same way I approached my day job, only it was a job I did for myself. I won’t lie. That approach worked for two decades.

But it’s not sustainable. And somewhere around year twelve, I started struggling. By that time I was working full time, taking care of my mother, and I realize now dealing with the effects of living as a masked neurodivergent in a very toxic work environment. I was so burnt out, I didn’t even realize I was burnt out. I just kept going. After all, what else could I do?

Fast forward to about a year ago, and I made a change. I would write only the stories (and the world, since I write mostly fantasy at the moment), that I want to lose myself in. The kind of world I want to live in, where I could be wholly, completely, comfortably myself in. And I would make writing my happy place so after a rough day at work, I could sit down at the computer with a big sigh of relief and simply lose myself for a thousand words or so.

At first it felt really self-indulgent. Shouldn’t I be “writing to market” or whatever the gurus are preaching now? But the more I did it, the more I realized that making writing my happy place WAS a part of my self-care.

This shifted how I look at writing. Sure, it’s still something that I’d like to make more money with, and I’m exploring different ways of doing so. But as far as thinking of it like a “job” or a “business”? Nope, that doesn’t work for me. Everything I do with my writing is now my self-care and that completely changed how I think about my writing.

Honestly, it changed my relationship with my writing. I’ll take more about that journey in the future because it involved new pen names, different approaches to my chosen genre, and even, returning to an old one. It all started with making writing my self-care.