by Kris Maze
Writing is hard work and it can take a toll on our well-being unless we advocate for better self-care. My recent experience of neglecting my healthy routine to focus on deadlines ended with ice packs and an avoidable headache. So, my writing peeps, here is a reminder to take care of yourselves. Be kind to you!
We create worlds out of nothing and breathe life into characters that didn’t exist before, but writers can forget to propagate this magic into their own lives. Stories take time and a tremendous cognitive load that our acquaintances may not fully understand. Emotional health is important for all people, but especially for creative, sensitive writer types.
Take some time to check in on yourself - you won’t regret it. *applies menthol to lower back*
My assumption is that, if you read articles in Writers in the Storm, you understand the importance of writing communities and their value in keeping your writer's perspective fresh. This rich tapestry of friends and resources is essential to a thriving writing life. Find those relationships that both bolster and push you further in your career.
Today I'm sharing five (5) practices for Writer Self Care that have made a difference for me personally. My hope is for you to add your own suggestions in the comments below.
I urge you to be gentle on yourself and tend to your most important creative tool: your well-being!
1. Create a positive mantra.
Get crafty and focus your intention with a few sentences to describe your desired outcomes.
- Include words that describe yourself as the successful author life you strive for.
- Describe what work you do and how it brings you and others joy.
- Be specific, name what you want your work and life to be like and be extravagant.
Say it aloud. Write it with a fancy marker and feel it flow from your pen. Put it in a journal or a bathroom mirror where you can see it daily where it can draw you back into your writing flow. Come back to your mantra before writing and built it into your routine for added encouragement at any stage of your writing career. You deserve to rewire your thinking to be your optimal Writer Self. You may find your goals are not that far out of reach.
Looking for inspiration? Don’t have the energy to form your own saying? Here is a Goodreads list full of positivity.
2. Avoid getting overwhelmed.
Take bigger tasks and break down your work into smaller goal chunks. I add these to a checklist where I can mark off one or two goals I accomplish each day. Here is a blog post on time management tools to stay on track with writing projects. The article provides descriptions of technology used by many writers with pros and cons for each.
3. Celebrate Small Successes.
Find the little ways to make daily progress in your writing and reward yourself. Perhaps buy yourself a treat to celebrate - a special coffee mug that feels just right in your palms or soft slippers that feel so inviting they summon you from your bedside. Another writer treat might be a notebook with a funny saying or paper you can’t resist.
Your reward doesn’t have to be something purchased. The gift of time to read your favorite book or enjoy a phone call to a friend is rewarding. Are you a writer who gets up early to write in the wee hours? One way to appreciate your work is to enjoy the sunrise. Take a picture and send it to me! I am addicted to sunrise (and sunset pictures) and can feature them in a future post on my website.
4. Feed Your Creativity.
Find podcasts on writing or online shows that provide an audio version of writer advice. One that I often listen to while walking my dog is from DIY MFA where they have author interviews and craft lessons available. Pressing play while walking lets my brain relax and washes my mind with writing ideas. Your mind will begin to chew on these ideas and add substance to your writer’s life.
Feed your mind with author news, craft building ideas, and other author methods that you can glean from. Some will inform your work and improve your own life.
5. Take care of your body.
Find a physical activity and build it into your daily routine. Here is my Writers in the Storm post on writer stretches to help prevent injury from repetitive actions. Don’t deny yourself a few neck rolls or a quick stroll around the living room.
Listen to your body and it will help you write more!
Writers under intense deadlines need stretch breaks, but rest periods away from writing are beneficial also. Longer periods of exercise are opportunities to resolve plot issues and character development. A few of my writer peeps claim that training for Ironman Triathlons or taking extending bike rides improves their writing. Brain science studies also show that physical activity boosts mental health.
Many writers also use their physical hobbies for inspiration in their writing. Many went outdoors to recharge their creativity.
- Henry David Thoreau contemplated many essays walking around Walden Pond.
- Beatrix Potter, well known for her garden setting illustrations in Peter Rabbit, studied botany with scientific precision.
- Agatha Christie worked on archaeological sites that inspired many of her mysteries, including Murder on the Orient Express.
How are you finding energy for your projects? Do you have a writer's well-being tip to share? Add to the comments below and share with our Writers in the Storm community.
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Kris Maze writes empowering, twisty stories and also teaches Spanish. After years of reading classic literature, mysteries, and legal thrillers, she sought to publish her own books. Her first Science Fiction novella, IMPACT, published through Aurelia Leo, is now available in PRINT COPIES!
Kris Maze is fascinated with strong characters like her protagonist Nala Nightingale, a teen journalist who reluctantly works with a crazed scientist Edison to survive an incoming asteroid implosion. For more information on her book, look here.
Check out her newly revised website and say hi! While you are there sign up for her newsletter for updates on blog tours and media takeovers during the next couple months. There will be free resources for Writer Wellness Resources available during the month of August. Sign up at her website here!