This is Caitie Flum, literary agent at Liza Dawson Associates.
This is a tough (and wonderful) business with lots of long hours, high expectations, and rejections at every turn. There is high burn out in all areas—not just for writers, but for agents and editors, too.
Self-care is something that people in publishing are talking about a little more--and that is a very good thing. I think it is something EVERYONE needs to focus on—but especially those in creative fields.
A lot of us in this industry are also dealing with depression and/or anxiety, which compounds the strains even more. I am no expert, but here are some of the things I have either utilized or recommended to others.
- Find a group, either in real life or online, that knows what you are going through, especially people who are around your level. It will show you that you are not alone and you will form friendships. Having a support system is so important—even if it’s just people who will tell you they’re feeling the same things
- Remember that everyone has been there, even if there’s pressure not to talk about it. Bestselling authors tweet about how they still feel imposter syndrome sometimes. Heads of agencies sometimes can’t sell things. Editors lose out on books. You are not alone. You are not failing.
- Take a break. Sometimes it fees like you can’t because there is so much to do, but it can be just what you need—and can make you more productive in the long run. This break doesn’t have to last days or weeks, but find something as simple as a podcast to listen to or a hobby that has nothing to do with books that is something that you do purely for yourself. Even if you set a timer and tell yourself you get a 30 minute break, that can help.
- Know it is okay to ignore social media when it gets to be too much.
- If you can afford it, find a therapist. Unfortunately, especially in the US, that is not always an option, but if it is for you, take advantage of it.
What are some of your best self-care tips? Let us know in the comments! Or send us an email at info at manuscriptwishlist dot com.
Caitie Flum joined Liza Dawson Associates in July 2014 as assistant and audio rights manager. She graduated from Hofstra University in 2009 with a BA in English with a concentration in publishing studies. Caitie interned at Hachette Book Group and Writers House. She was an Editorial Assistant then Coordinator for Bookspan, where she worked on several clubs including the Book-of-the-Month Club, The Good Cook, and the Children's Book-of-the-Month Club.