Self-Care Month II: 30 Gifts To Give Yourself To Try And Stay Sane

Last May, I launched Self-Care Month, four weekly posts to help writers and creators feel better about themselves! And right now, I think we seriously need it.

One of my life philosophies – and one I try my very best to stick to – is that every day you should give yourself a gift. It doesn’t have to be big or extravagant, it doesn’t even have to cost money! But doing something small for yourself every day can go a long way.

Here are 30 ideas to get you through this month’s insanity:

  1. Treat yourself to half an hour with a mug of hot something (chocolate, tea, coffee, take your pick).
  2. Watch a nostalgic movie you haven’t seen in a while. I’m a huge advocate for early/mid 00s Disney Channel Movies.
  3. Eat a pastry! If it’s home-baked, you get the advantage of it being warm and fresh, if it’s store-bought well, hey. You got someone else to make it for you.
  4. Bake! See above.
  5. Listen to your favorite album of music all the way through from start to finish. Put on headphones or crank it over the speakers, close your eyes, and just listen.
  6. Listen to a guided meditation. Try not to fall asleep.
  7. Watch some trashy TV and with zero shame.
  8. Toast! It may seem silly, but science has proven that toasting your bread creates a chemical reaction that makes you happier. So toast your sandwich and enjoy the warm n’ crispy feelings.
  9. Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, has been proven to improve moods too.
  10. Hot cheese, too.
    (My man Babish made a recipe with all three!)
  11. Find a video game with low chances of dying and something pretty to look at. My favorites are Journey (where players anonymously help each other through puzzles – the soundtrack is sublime!), Everything (which is weird and existential but very chill), and any open-world game you like to explore.
  12. Try the Kind Words game/app on Steam! Send anonymous letters to other people around the world giving advice and encouragement when people need it the most.
    Note: this is not sponsored content, I just really like this game… thing
  13. Check out the Mom For a Minute subreddit, write a letter to a team of internet moms whenever you need a helping hand.
  14. Create a Pinterest board or ‘like’ a bunch of things on your online store (my Poshmark likes are just… a lot). You get the thrill of shopping without spending anything.
  15. Turn off your phone for just a little bit. Everything can wait.
    After work hours, of course.
  16. Treat yourself to a new (e)Book or read something on your shelf you’ve been meaning to.
  17. Try a tutorial from YouTube (or somewhere else online). There are some excellent art tutorials, baking tutorials, bookbinding tutorials… everything you could want really!
    NOTE: Please PLEASE be careful of your sourcing, many “tutorial” and “lifehack” videos are completely fabricated for views and may be harmful if tried at home. Although the videos of these fails are also excellent entertainment as well.
  18. Give yourself time to reflect and reminisce. Flip through old photos or read some of your old writing.
  19. Eat something you’re not supposed to. Just once! You know, as long as it won’t kill you or something.
  20. Watch a bad movie, something you can seriously laugh to.
  21. Clean up your space a little. It may seem like a chore more than a gift, but having a neater area is honestly one of the better things you can give to yourself.
  22. Order food out. Have someone else make your dinner. Just stay safe!
  23. Treat yourself to a mini spa night with whatever you have. Pull out those old lotions and such (as long as they haven’t expired of course!) and pamper yourself.
  24. Play a mindless, classic video game to let your brain unwind. Tetris is never the wrong choice.
  25. Take an extra-long shower or bath. Use some of those special-occasion soaps and shampoos, too!
  26. Light your favorite scented candle or incense for wile you work. Even something as little as a nice scent can really improve your mood.
  27. Reach out to an old friend you haven’t heard from in a while.
  28. Consequently, allow yourself to ignore the people you don’t want to talk to for a while. That’s okay too.
  29. Try a yoga video and stretch your quarantined booty – many studios are streaming now!
  30. Most of all let yourself be unabashedly, unashemedly, unconsciously, and totally happy. And apologize to no one!

Stay tuned for more self-care ideas this month, including the return of Schedenfruedoptimism!

[Self-Care Month] Sipping the Tea

For the final week of Self-Care Month, I’ve reached out to some of your fellow writers in the community to talk about what tea – and other drinks – we enjoy when writing!



Passion fruit iced tea on hot days, or a decaf English breakfast latte in cold ones.

Serdar Yegulalp

@genjipress /


Elizabeth Mays


My go to is green tea, but I also have a tea from Teavana called passion tango that I like.


@MorganBallantin/The Chaos Beast

Orange pekoe. I’ll fall back on English breakfast if necessary.

Rylann Watts

@RylannWatts1 /

Almond cinnamon dolce latte.


Peppermint or Earl Grey

Luna Ann Koenig


Bam! My fave.

Luci Jewett


Chai with whipped cream!

C. Comrack


Jasmine tea. All day. I drink one cup of coffee with my treat when I sit to write.

Mindy A. Early

@mindyaearly /

Tazo Ginger Green tea!

Natasha Watts

@NatashaWattsUp /

I’m boring. Straight up green tea!

Hiiro Langley


Whatever kind of generic tea this is:

Aedyn Brooks


Harney & Sons – London Fog is my new favorite.

Nicole Scarano


I drink a lot of different stuff when I’m writing, but as far as tea I love David’s Tea. Their loose leaf tea is so good and they have crazy flavors (like tea with real fruit, popcorn, Chocolate, yogurt, or candies in them as well as the standard versions of tea)

Marissa Staib


My favorite drink to have when writing is water, because I can sip it regularly without having to think about how much I’ve been drinking.

Jennie Ritz

@jennieritz /

I’m lame over here. Just black coffee for me.

As for me…

Image result for whiskey bottle
(or maybe some nice Earl Grey iced with soymilk, don’t @ me, MOM)

I got over 100 responses so read some more here:

What do you like to drink when you write? Do you have a favorite kind of tea?

You can join the Writing Community in reading the coolest, awesomest, most tea-fueled science-fiction novel!

inter_linked The Series is the fun, sarcastic story of a girl and her android.

Follow the adventures of Anny and WISR as they try to help every robot they can, while the hardest part of the journey is putting up with each other.

Absolutely free to read:

[Self-Care Month] Yay Rejections!

This month on the November O’Malley blog, we’re discussing Self-Care for writers, taking time to be kind to yourself and keeping yourself in writin’, fightin’ shape. Last week we talked about keeping yourself sane when your writing is being read by strangers, this week, it’s what happens when strangers don’t like the thing.

Rejection letters suck. They’re disheartening, dehumanizing, and they make you feel like poopy. Right?

Photo by Pixabay on


Rejection letters are awesome. They’re super cool, they’re awesome, they’re the best thing that can happen to a writer.

And I know. You’re wondering which deep end I’ve jumped off of this week. But hear me out:

1. They Prevent You From Ending Up With the Wrong Publisher

Image result for what am i reading meme

“A Wrinkle in Time was almost never published. You can’t name a major publisher who didn’t reject it.

Madeline L’Engle

Think of it like a bad date. Yeah, it’s sad that things didn’t work out, but it’s good that you figured that part out early, right?

Ending up with the wrong publisher can mean your manuscript is edited badly, handled badly, and marketed badly. Wouldn’t you rather be published by a house that knows how to make your work truly shine?

It’s honestly so much better this way.

2. More Fish In the Sea

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on

“I love my rejection slips. They show me I try.”

Sylvia Plath

According to Wikipedia, there are precisely a lot of publishers out there (and that’s only the data I can get on English-language ones!) The Manuscript Wish List lists hundreds, if not thousands of Agents and Editors all across the world. And did you ever see those Writer’s Market books? They’re massive chunks of tree crawling with teeny-tiny print with every publisher, editor, contest, and agent known to man (or at least those who could afford to get in.)

There are so many different people making books these days, and one of them is going to be perfect for you.

3. It Gives You A Second Chance

Photo by Startup Stock Photos on

“You have to know how to accept rejection and reject acceptance.”

Ray Bradbury

Maybe it is you. Maybe there’s something not quite right about your manuscript or your voice or maybe it’s just not marketable. It happens, and that’s okay.

But imagine if you did get picked up by some small press that didn’t know what they were doing. It’s edited on a shoestring budget (read: run through a spell checker and then they call it a day), printed off-center in an ugly font, shared maybe ONCE on their social media pages, and only distributed to the last Borders Books in the universe.

How awful would THAT be for you and your book?

So take this chance you’ve been given to edit, revise, change. Because sometimes getting published is actually the worst thing that can happen.

4. Win or Lose, YOU DID THE THING

“Rejections slips, or form letters, however tactfully phrased, are lacerations of the soul, if not quite inventions of the devil – but there is no way around them.”

Isaac Asimov

You’ve taken your first steps towards being a real, actual professional writer. You’ve done it. You’ve taken the big leap that countless others have been afraid to.

How many rejections have you gotten? Post your high score below to encourage your fellow writers to get back up again!

And don’t reject this brand-new, all-amazing, warm-and-fuzzy science fiction novel full of sarcasm and robots!

inter_linked The Series is the fun, sarcastic story of a girl and her android.

Follow the adventures of Anny and WISR as they try to help every robot they can, while the hardest part of the journey is putting up with each other.

Absolutely free to read:

[Self-Care Month] 20 Things To Do When Your Work Is Out on Submission

This month on the November O’Malley blog is being devoted to Self-Care for writers. Stay tuned in the following for more tips, tricks, and activities to improve your writing life and check

You’ve done it! You finished your project, it’s done, it’s edited, and now it’s time for a bunch of strangers to tear it letter from letter, word from word. It’s scary, it’s heart-pounding, it’s literally the worst thing ever. And the worst part is that you can’t go off and write some more like you do whenever you want to avoid the real world. If you thought editing was bad, you haven’t seen and/or felt anything yet.

But it’s okay.

Please breathe.

Because there’s plenty you can do to keep yourself sane. Or as sane as us writers can be:

  1. Make a playlist.
  2. Make an ambiance track.
  3. Make an aesthetic board or a Pinterest board
  4. Have a mini dance party for yourself!
  5. Go for a walk
  6. Go feed some ducks (PLEASE NOTE: Do not feed ducks bread! They like oats and halved grapes, bread makes them sick and fat.)
  7. Watch your favorite movie
  8. Watch a really bad movie
  9. Watch a movie you like but no one else seems to.
  10. Watch a movie you haven’t seen since you were a kid. undefined
  11. Read a book in your genre
  12. Read a book outside your genre or age group
  13. Find out what author in your genre and age group is next to yours alphabetically and read something of theirs. Be friendly with your future neighbors!
  14. Read the first thing that comes up when you look up “free ebook”, or a randomly numbered one.
  15. Randomly generate a word. Read the first free ebook when you look up that word.
  16. Bake something
  17. Try an origami project
  18. Make a new recipe for dinner
  19. Read some really, really terrible fanfiction
  20. Make yourself a cup of tea. Really focus on it, let yourself do nothing but just enjoy it.
Photo by Stokpic on

What do you like to do when you need a calm-down?
How do you keep yourself sane in the querying process?

Please share in the comments!

[Self-Care Month] Unique Positive Affirmations For Your Writing Life

The month of May is devoted to Self-Care for Writers! Last week, we talked about the joy of bad books, but this week we have something less usual.

In this day and age, we’ve all seen positive affirmations of some kind. They’re plastered all over Pinterest and Instagram, we see them posted daily on Timelines and Feeds, and I’m willing to bet at least one of you reading has one taped on your wall.

But there are only so many times you can hear “she thought she could so she did” over and over again before it kind of loses its meaning.

So friends, I present to you Unusual Positive Affirmations For Your Writing Life, some odd compliments and unique go-get-’ems to fuel your writing fire that you have undoubtedly never heard before!

Share them, link them, print them, make a tacky wallpaper out of them – do whatever makes you happy and whatever gets you back in the game!

[Self-Care Month] Schadenfreudoptimism

This month is Self-Care Month where I share some tips for writers on being good to yourself – but without lavender-scented BS.

This is a concept that may seem a little mean, but I advocate so strongly for that I invented a word for it: Schadenfreudoptimism.

Basically, it just means having a guilty pleasure but using it to feel better about your career:

Step 1: Go to Your Local Library and Find Something Deliciously Trashy

Photo by Element5 Digital on

Its cover has a swirly font and a purple cover or conversely it has a terrible embossed foil illustration of a dragon, spaceship, or concept car. Either way, it looks like it came out of the 80s but the copyright date says last year. Yes. This is going to be a good time.

Not only that, but look at you getting out of the house! The air is incredibly airy today and they make the trees in ‘green’ now!

Step 2: Check Out Proudly

Photo by Zun Zun on

Don’t use those self checkout thingies. You slap that mass-market chunk of tree down on the desk and politely ask to check out that book. Revel in any awkward looks and be sure to say thank you. Librarians work very hard and MLS’s are nothing to sneeze at.

This also counts as your human interaction of the day. Achievement Unlocked!

Step 3: Cuddle Up With Something Good

Photo by Free on

A glass of wine. A fudge chip cookie. A steaming mug of tea.

Whatever it is, as long as it’s tasty and makes you feel good inside, put it in your face!

Step 4: Enjoy

So here’s the thing about what I call the “junk food books”:


Photo by Pixabay on

You went to the place where books are. You went to the shelf. And you found something wonderfully bad and had a good time reading it and some publisher somewhere believed in this book enough to bring it to life and now you are holding it in your very hands.


Stay tuned next week for some positive affirmations to improve your writing life!

I promise THIS book isn’t an embarrassingly awesome chunk of tree.

inter_linked The Series is the fun, sarcastic story of a girl and her android.

Follow the adventures of Anny and WISR as they try to help every robot they can, while the hardest part of the journey is putting up with each other.

Absolutely free to read: