How To Keep Writing In Trump's America, Because Writers Can Make All The Difference
Is it just me, or have the last three months been particularly exhausting? Between the early morning tweetstorms from our commander-in-chief, the near daily release of dangerous executive orders, and the administration's ongoing war with the media, the winter seemed to have drag on longer than usual, and brought with it much worse things than the flu. If you're just starting to recover from the dreadful and dreary days, you may want to start thinking about how to use self-care to keep healthy and keep writing in Trump's America this spring. Winter may be over, but this president's term has only just begun.
As a feminist writer who covers everything from book and author news to women's issues and current events, I've found there has been one common theme in my writing this year: politics. Whether I'm covering a newly released thriller or talking about empowering female characters, it seems impossible, and even irresponsible, to leave politics out of the conversation. And while it can be exhausting constantly talking about, reading about, and writing about Trump's America, the alternative is much worse. The alternative involves turning a blind eye and a blind ear to what's happening around us, and isn't that how our country got here to begin with?
Whether you're a professional writer, blogger, author, or you're just getting started, it's important to keep writing, now more than ever. When pitted against an administration that likes to control the narrative, that likes to reinvent history and rewrite the facts, it's writers who speak truth, and speak truth to power, that make all the difference.
1. Don't write alone.
Writing is often a solo activity, but in Trump's America, we could all use a little more support. As part of your writing self-care routine, make sure to include a few hours a week writing with friends, colleagues, your writing group, or even strangers at the coffee shop. It's easy to feel alienated in today's political climate, especially when you spend your day writing about said political climate, but it's important to know you are anything but alone. Gather your writing buddies and have a write-in party, or meet up with local writers at the library. Whatever you do, whatever you write, make some time to do it with other people.
2. Read more than just the news.
A good writer takes care of their needs, creative an otherwise, and for many of us, that means closing down the CNN window and cracking open some good old fashioned literature. We are up to our eyeballs in news, specifically political news, and if you're a writer covering current events, you can't ignore it. But you can supplement it with fiction, poetry, memoirs, or any other kind of story that does not involve a villain named Donald. Whether you're a politics writer, a feminist blogger, or an aspiring novelist, make sure that you are reading more that just the news everyday, for the sake of your own sanity, and the sake of your writing.
3. Keep a journal or diary.
Advice I firmly believe all writers should follow, keeping a journal or a diary is more important in Trump's America than ever before. Like a phone call with your mom or a beer with a best friend, journaling can be therapeutic and stress relieving, especially for writers who are over saturated in news, politics, and other forms of despair. Your journal can be a place where you work through your thoughts and feelings before writing a piece for publication, a safe haven for you to express even your most difficult emotions, and a sounding board for writing ideas you aren't sure you're ready to share with the world yet. You'd be surprised how much it can help you feel healthier and happier, and the ways in which it can make you write better.
4. Go off the grid.
This one is important for writers and non-writers alike: get off the grid every now and then, even if it's just for a little while. Let yourself unplug from the news, from social media, from your neighbor's sexist politics, and just be. We are already an overstimulated society, but add in the recent influx of constant news and turmoil, and we're just steps away from a complete overload. Give yourself a break every now and then to step away from it all and enjoy peace and quiet. It will help you clear your head and get ready to hit the ground writing again when you come back.
5. Ignore the comments section.
The comments section is perhaps one of the nastiest, cruelest places on the internet, so do yourself and your writing self-esteem a favor: avoid it. Don't engage with trolls, don't read their petty comments, and don't let strangers on the internet try and define your worth. You are a better person, and a better writer, than than.
6. Turn your writing into activism.
It can feel very overwhelming to try and get everything on your to-do list done, especially when that to-do list has newly added activities like "Resist" and "Protest" on it nearly every day. Do yourself a favor and combine two, writing and activism, into one activity. You can put your talents to good use and make more time in your schedule for sleeping, which I'm sure you most desperately need.
7. Write a lot, and edit even more often.
The best advice to keep writing in Trump's America? Keep writing. Yes, it seems simple, but when you have to cover the kinds of things that've been happening lately, it's easy to feel overwhelmed enough to want to snap your keyboard in half, or worse, give up all together. Instead of abandoning writing, write more — more stories, more articles, more poems, more journal entries. Get your thoughts down, get your voice out there, because if you don't no one else will.
One last piece of advice: edit even more often than you write. It's easy to let feelings get the best of you when you're writing about a subject that means something to you, but you can't let your emotion overrule your writing integrity. Edit your work, check your facts, and keep writing things you can be proud of, no matter what your president says.