As writers who tend to exist in a fabricated universe, working mostly in our own heads, it’s not unusual to have bouts of anxiety or depression. Even low-level situations of stress can hamper productivity and your ability to write well.
It is common for us to “future trip” or begin to think of the worst-case scenario when there isn’t a trusted professional sitting next to us. We play out the worst of all possible situations in a way that can be overwhelming and paralyzing.
Friends, family, and therapists can help with overall mental health and mood. However, there are certain elements of being a career author that are completely misunderstood by those who are closest to us because they are not writers.
If you have a job as a bricklayer or a ditchdigger, you can still do your work without being in a positive mood. Physical work, while strenuous, difficult, and not easy, can still be completed when one isn’t feeling mentally well.
But as a writer, you need to have a clear mind and a positive mood to write well. And so, if you are troubled with distractions that include relationship problems, health concerns, or financial worries, you simply cannot get the words on the page because your mental calories are focused elsewhere.
If you extend these types of situations for weeks, months, or years, you start to realize that not having a support network of other like-minded creatives can become a detriment and ultimately make it difficult for you to produce quality words.
Being in a mastermind group is a great way to reinforce positive mental health.
At a basic level, a kinship develops between authors, whether you are writing fiction or nonfiction. We struggle with the same things, are fearful of the same things, and tend to form some of the same habits. Being able to both recognize and troubleshoot those problems for others makes them more apparent for ourselves.
But the value of a mastermind group goes beyond basic friendship. Encouragement from fellow authors within the group is one of the main forces of accountability that members of my mastermind groups have shared with me in their feedback. Having someone next to you, cheering you on, can make a big difference in your overall mental health and your approach to your work.
Over time, you begin to understand that the situations you believed were specific to you are quite common, and because of that, solutions can be found. In fact, you begin to see patterns or themes showing up in mastermind groups, especially around the struggles that authors face. Sometimes we cannot articulate what the problem is, but when we hear it coming from someone else, we recognize it as our own.
Using the hot seat as an example, it can be quite therapeutic to have your problems solved by proxy. You identify and agree with the problem the person on the hot seat is facing because it is the same one you are struggling with on a day-to-day basis. You listen intently as other members of the mastermind share their expertise and their experience, and the solutions that are proposed to the person on the hot seat can also apply to you.
This “rising tide lifting all the boats” concept is something I see in many aspects of being in an author mastermind group. People have brought problems to the mastermind that on the surface are about writing, but once we dig into the question, we usually find that there’s a root cause. This underlying or root cause is directly correlated to positive or negative mental health. So, when one member of the mastermind group feels as though they are making progress on their anxiety around deadlines, that positive energy is both internalized and reflected back by the other members of the mastermind.
As the frequency of certain types of problems increases on the hot seat in the mastermind group, all of the writers inside it feel better prepared to deal with those problems when they come up individually, and this benefit extends even beyond the mastermind group for years to come.
Writers are in the mastermind group because they want to be mentally healthy and they want to be successful, and once those relationships are established, they care just as much about others’ success as they do their own, and therefore, it is almost impossible to underestimate the growing power of positive thinking as it happens within a mastermind group.
Want to take your writing chops and business savvy to the next level? Check out The Author Success Mastermind group at https://theauthorsuccessmastermind.com/join/