Getting support / Learning / mental health / Offering Support / Spoonie Challenges

Rebuilding my confidence as a newly disabled writer

I’ve wanted to be an author since I was eight years old, and from the moment I started studying to become one I heard one message over and over again: if you want to be successful, you must work harder than anyone else. You must write every day, you must sacrifice your weekends and vacations to writing, you must stay home from social events, and stay focused on your writing above all else.

At first, I found this encouraging. I was young and, while I was never the healthiest person around, I was healthy enough to put in the hours. I spent thousands of hours on my writing every year, sneaking in work on my stories between classes and during lunch breaks and then pouring more hours into it after school.

Things changed when I hit adulthood and found my way into the workforce. I began to resent having work after work, spending endless hours of my free time on writing when others simply got home from work and relaxed with a video game or a TV show. Moreover, when freelance writing became my “day job,” I found that often the energy to work on my own writing didn’t exist after writing 1500+ words for clients.

I berated myself for both my resentment and my exhaustion. I felt guilty about every break I took, every time I went out instead of staying home to write.

When my health declined sharply in 2019, I realized that my body was never going to be the same as it had been at 16 or 23, that I simply wasn’t able to produce as much as I used to and likely never would be, at least not while I still had to work (which, as a millennial, I will probably have to do until I’m dead). If I wanted to reach any metric of success, I needed to reevaluate my goals and routines, to embrace my now-disabled body and find a way to work with it instead of against it.

I didn’t come to this realization entirely on my own, though. I came to it after meeting, listening to, and learning from disabled authors, many of whom are contributors to this very blog. They showed me that being a productive writer doesn’t necessarily mean sacrificing everything else in your life, that taking care of your health and writing books don’t have to be mutually exclusive, that being able to write for 20, 25, 30 years is better than writing three books a year until you burn out so badly that you never want to look at a novel again.

With these lessons in mind, I changed my approach to my writing career. But undoing years of programming and pulling away from hustle culture is incredibly difficult, especially as a creative. We’re told that if we really want it, we have to produce more and produce faster than anyone else, that nothing else counts as success. 

Moreover, writers (and many other creatives) are paid so little that to some extent, this messaging is accurate. Most authors, traditionally published or otherwise, have to publish 3+ books a year to make a living. We’re expected to grind and grind and be grateful for the pennies we get paid, be grateful that we can get paid to do this thing at all. The pressure is intense and inescapable, and if we try to step back from it to prioritize our health or our families or anything else we’re told that we’re less valid as writers.

So I changed my publishing schedule to work with my body, but it didn’t feel good. I felt like I was failing myself, like slowing down meant permanently giving up on my dream of life as a full-time author. For the first time in my life, I truly doubted myself and my ability to make it in this business, and I slipped into a depression deeper than anything I had experienced in my adult life.

I knew I needed to find a way out of the darkness, so I turned to a tool I had started using in other areas of my life: affirmations. 

I had already been using these positive statements to build a better relationship with myself, writing out statements like these:

  • I am confident.
  • I am capable.
  • I am powerful.

In the face of my new doubts around creativity, I added new statements:

  • My creativity is powerful.
  • My stories are powerful.
  • I deserve creative success.

Piece by piece, these affirmations helped me rebuild confidence in my ability to succeed as an author and build the life I want, even if it takes me a few years longer than it might take an able-bodied person.

I wanted to share the power of these statements with others, too, especially those who had already tried affirmations and hadn’t found a way to make them work. So I created a book about my journey with affirmations, one you can now buy from Amazon and a myriad of online retailers: 151 Affirmations for Creative People: Healing Words and How to Use Them and the companion workbook, 151 Affirmations for Creative People: The Workbook.

Read on to find more about these books & how you can grab your copies!

151 Affirmations for Creative People: Healing Words and How to Use Them

Book cover of 151 Affirmations for Creative people: main image is a green tree icon that is lush and growing.

Based on one writer’s journey to a better mindset through affirmations, 151 Affirmations for Creative People will show you how to use the power of affirmations in your own life. You’ll learn what an affirmation practice is, how to successfully build one into your life, and how to choose the right affirmations for your unique mental health journey.

This book will then share 151 examples of affirmations you can use, organized into four categories:

  • General well-being
  • Creativity
  • Career
  • Finance

You’ll also learn how to create your own affirmations + more ways to incorporate affirmations into your everyday life. 

151 Affirmations for Creative People: Healing Words and How to Use Them is available now in the following locations:

You can also request that your local library grab it from Overdrive, BorrowBox, or Palace Marketplace!

151 Affirmations for Creative People: The Workbook

Workbook cover of 151 Affirmations for Creative people: main image is also a green tree icon that is lush and growing.

This companion workbook for 151 Affirmations for Creative People: Healing Words and How to Use Them will show you how to harness the power of affirmations with a three-step process:

  • Figuring out when/how to fit an affirmation practice into your existing routine
  • Choosing your affirmations
  • Evaluating your affirmation practice

You’ll also get a worksheet for creating your own affirmations. Plus, enjoy one full year of journaling spreads where you can write out your affirmations.

151 Affirmations for Creative People: The Workbook is now available as a paperback on Amazon.

Alternatively, 151 Affirmations for Creative People: The Workbook is available as a printable PDF from my Ko-fi store at

Photo Credit: Sandy Kennedy. Dianna is a white woman with an asymmetrical shoulder length hairstyle in a purple gradient. She is smiling at the camera and wearing a sleeveless black top.

Dianna Gunn is a freelance SEO writer, digital marketing consultant, author, event host, and about 18 other things. She’s also a disabled woman who has struggled with her mental health for as long as she can remember and has now dedicated herself to sharing the strategies that have helped her heal with others who might benefit from them. You can find her on Instagram at d_l_gunn or check out her author website at

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