It’s Valentine’s Day! You may adore this holiday because it speaks of hope and romance, or you may hate this holiday because it’s too dedicated to couples or to Hallmark, florists, and candymakers.
Regardless, let's use this as an opportunity to look at how we’re loving ourselves. Do we embrace and care for our relationship to writing?
Here are a few ideas for how to love your writer self this Valentine’s Day—or any time of year.
One year for my birthday, I asked for a gift card to Staples. My family thought that was odd, but all my writer friends were like, “Ooooh, yessss.” Because writers know how delightful shopping for office supplies can be!
You don’t have to wait for someone else to give you a writing-themed present. Valentine’s Day involves giving gifts of greeting cards, flowers, candy, and more. How about treating yourself to something that makes your work easier or sweeter! For lots of great ideas, check out Jami Gold’s Ultimate Gift Guide for Writers.
You get bonus points for wrapping the gift and opening it with the fresh excitement of a child or for snapping pics and sharing your beautiful new purchase on social media for others to ooh and aah.
A core feature of Valentine’s Day is saying kind, romantic, or sexy things to your beloved. How tender a lover’s words can be to our eager ears!
Now think about all the things you’ve said to yourself about your own writing:
Whoa, you are a terrible valentine to yourself.
Hey, we all are at times. What if we rephrased our words in ways a lover would say?
It’s okay to share frustration from time to time, but remember to also speak tenderly to yourself. Writing a wonderful book is far more difficult than many realize, and you’re pretty remarkable to do what you do.
Valentine’s Day also means hand-holding, snuggling up, smooching, etc. By no means do I expect you to kiss yourself for your fabulous writing. (But if you’re feeling it, go ahead.) So what kind of affection can you show yourself?
Look at your workspace. Is there any way to make it cozier? Consider ergonomics, creature comforts, inspiring quotes and art. Do you need to slip away to the couch sometimes? Or the recliner on your back patio? As much as you can, care for your body’s comfort as you write.
Get a massage. Sitting for long periods of time and/or slumping your shoulders over a keyboard can wreak havoc on your back. A massage can work out the kinks and relax those sore muscles. Schedule a professional massage, or if money is tight, get a back and neck massager you can keep nearby.
Prioritize self-care. Eat and sleep well! We writers can be so bad at that. Not to mention exercise and meditation. But self-care practices pay huge dividends both in our overall mood and our productivity.
Show yourself affection. And if you still want that self-kiss, pucker up and go for it!
Couples who celebrate Valentine’s Day expect to have a date. Dinner at least, but maybe more. Why not take yourself out to write?
Day Trip. Consider what setting helps your creative juices flow. Do you get great work done at the library? A local coffee shop? A seaside restaurant? Pack up your supplies and head out for the day to your favorite writing spot.
Getaway. Maybe you can swing a weekend getaway to a quiet place that sparks your imagination. Bring along another writer or two to keep yourself inspired and accountable. My critique partner and I have had many productive weekends at lake houses (some of which we found through Airbnb).
Retreat/Conference. Sign up to attend a longer retreat or conference. I’m a big fan of Cruising Writers, where I’ve both learned a lot from presenters and crafted some of my best scenes! (Also, I happen to be hosting this year’s event in the owner/manager’s stead.) But ask around and/or check out the lists from Romance Refined or Kotobee.
Make this Valentine’s Day—or any day—the time to love your writer self!
What area do you need to work on to show your writer self more love?
Julie Glover writes mysteries and young adult fiction. Her YA contemporary novel, SHARING HUNTER, finaled in the 2015 RWA® Golden Heart® and is now on sale! When not writing, she collects boots, practices rampant sarcasm, and advocates for good grammar and the addition of the interrobang as a much-needed punctuation mark.
Julie is represented by Louise Fury of The Bent Agency. You can visit her website here and also follow her on Twitter and Facebook.
Cruising Writers brings writers together with bestselling authors, an agent, and a world-renowned writing craft instructor writing retreats around the world. Cruise this November with Angela Ackerman, fabulous writing coach and co-author of The Emotion Thesaurus, NYT bestselling author Darynda Jones, and a high-quality literary agent (TBA).
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I honestly had never thought about a Valentine's gift for myself. I'm so blessed to have a great husband, so we celebrate this day together. But I've read a few things this morning about self-gifts, and they've got me thinking. I mostly write on my laptop, but when I need a change, I love to write on yellow legal pads with super, super sharp #2 pencils. And guess what I don't have? So today, I will splurge on a whole five-pack of legal pads! Woo-hoo! We have plenty of pencils, but I'm going to collect them and run them through the elecric sharpener so they are ready when I need them. Thanks for the inspiration, Julie!
Yay! Splurge away. And I love pencils. They are my go-to when I'm handwriting. Enjoy!
Thanks for this! I've been mired in nasty self-talk for a while now. Sometimes we just need a reminder to be kind to ourselves. Plus, I like your advise to take a little trip. I'm thinking it's time to spend a weekend in Santa Barbara as soon as I can arrange it. Visiting the site where my series takes place with a camera (or at least my phone) might just open the flood gates. Plus fresh coastal air and the sound of waves are just what the doctor ordered.
I was just thinking today how much I want to drive the 40 minutes down to Galveston just to smell the ocean. Santa Barbara, I'm sure, has the same lovely effect. Enjoy!
Love everything about this post!
Aw, thanks! Glad it hit you where you are. ♥
Lovely post, Julie! Treat myself? Why, yes, thank you. I've decided to go on a weekend writer's retreat alone, just me, my laptop and favorite teas. My nephew has the cutest casita on his property in San Juan Capistrano with a private garden space and view of the Mission's bell dome. I'm looking at my calendar as I write this. Thanks for the inspiration!
How wonderful! May you be inspired and productive. And I like my specialty teas too.
Funny you should mention this...because this morning I thought, I can get myself a Valentine's Day gift. And I did! Talk about perking up my attitude. Thanks for the reminder, Julie!
Yay! Good for you. You deserve it! ♥
I would love to go on a writer's retreat.
Make it happen!
I had a raging sinus infection for Valentine's Day, so it's taken a few days to get to this lovely post. You are bang on, particularly with the reframing. It is so important to re-frame how we speak to ourselves, and to be as loving as we can toward ourselves and our writing. And YAY to all the the people in the comments that ran out to by themselves a V-Day present. I love it!!!