Whether you’re a supporter of the new president and administration or not, you can’t deny they’re causing a lot of chaos and anxiety. It’s hard to keep up with the crazy coming out of Washington. Waking up every day and facing headlines and social media full of the next wave of turmoil can be discouraging. Wouldn’t it be nice to have one day without a crisis? One day that didn’t require you to call someone or protest? One day where social media was all about cute cats and book promo again? The whole thing is emotionally exhausting.

Which brings me to the point of this post: writing and creating in this age of chaos. I can’t tell you how many of the authors I know, and those I follow and interact with on social media, have commented about how challenging it is to be creative when struggling with this new anxiety. Romance authors, especially, have said how difficult it is to get into a mindset to write about love and sex and happily ever after when it feels like democracy and human and civil rights are crumbling around them.

I agree. Finding balance is a challenge when you’re worried about your safety, or the safety and freedom of people you care about. This goes for everyone who has a job, not just authors. But if worry is affecting your job performance, my advice is this: You still need to make a living and take care of yourself. Sadly, the dumpster fire will still be there after you’re done with your work day.

As an author, creating art is your job and you still need to do it, so when it comes time to write turn off all the social media noise. Create a space where you can block out the things that cause anxiety. Focus on self-care and the things that foster your artist self. Use the time with your characters and words as a way to recharge your energy and renew your determination. Remember what you love about writing and use that to fuel your creativity.

The new political atmosphere may make your job more difficult as an author–especially a romance author–but trust me, your readers will thank you. It may be hard to focus on writing kissing stories when all you want to do is shake your first and curse like a sailor, but your readers really want to READ kissing stories right now. They need a break from the anxiety, too, and they look to your books as refuge from the storm.