Writers in the Storm

A blog about writing

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March 4, 2024

17 Tips to Care for the Writer's Digital Soul

by Edie Melson

As writers in this day and time, we combat a specific kind of stress—digital stress. So much of our lives are spent seated at a computer, on the phone, or even in digital meetings. Because of that, I've discovered there are certain things I need to build into my life to stay healthy—spiritually, physically, and emotionally. So below are my tips, with thoughts about how to apply them in our lives.

1. Decide on boundaries, write them down and STICK with them.

These are some of mine: 

  • Time is no longer driven by my phone. 
  • I set a time to return text messages, emails, and phone calls—not during lunch or after working hours.
  • I have set office time. And my phone is NOT my office. I don’t work during family time. 
  • I’m specific with clients on what type of correspondence I expect. For example, while I will answer emergency text messages, all other correspondence should be in email. 

2. Weekends off are now the norm, NOT the exception.

As writers, it’s far too easy to always be at work. But for our mental health we need to learn to set healthy boundaries about time off and time for work.

3. Learn to limit digital meetings.

Zoom Fatigue is a real thing! Spending long hours staring at a screen leads to eye fatigue, back issues, and all the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle.

4. Work smarter, not harder when connecting with your audience.

Learn the things that help you connect with your audience. Even if you hire someone else for marketing, make sure you know how you want it done.

5. Families come first.

Let’s face it, life happens. Kids get sick, parents grow older and need help. One of the advantages to writing for a living is having a flexible schedule. But we should never sacrifice our family time.

6. Be aware of the pressure coming at you right now and make your own decisions.

One of the hardest lessons I’ve learned is this, just because I see a need doesn’t mean I’m obligated to fulfill it. There are ALWAYS things that need doing, and jobs that need filling. We cannot do everything. Don’t let life apply pressure that keeps you from saying yes to the things you are called to do.

7. Kick up the volume.

 I love to play music while I work. It helps me focus, inspires me, and even sets the mood for what I’m writing.

8. Relationships matter, and beyond that, they need nurturing to survive.

Many writers are introverts. That means we are energized by time alone and drained by time with people. Neither one of those truths is an excuse to ignore the relationships in our lives.

9. Reach out when you’re down.

This one is hard for me. I don’t want to be a burden or bring someone down. But I’ve learned that not asking for help discourages others from requesting help from me.

10. Field trips are time well spent.

I love going on field trips. I’m inspired by many things—a hike outdoors, a trip to the zoo, a movie, a concert, and a visit to a museum or art gallery. Visiting places that inspire me aren’t luxury ways to spend my time, they are necessities.

11. Mix it up.

I have certain things I usually write. I’m good at nonfiction, blog posts, and articles. But one of the reasons I do well is because I also write things that challenge me and force me to grow in my craft.

12. Quit judging how you’re doing by what you’ve accomplished.

This is another difficult one. I love checking things off my to-do list. I feel like I’m a success when I achieve something. But there is a lot of satisfaction found in the process and in being rather than doing.

13. It’s okay (even encouraged) to have hobbies that have NOTHING to do with writing and/or reading. 

Just like field trips, my hobbies feed my creativity.

14. Keep moving.

 Don’t neglect your physical well-being. That means staying active, limber, and in good shape. Trust me, it’s much easier to write when you’re not in pain.

15. Be gentle with yourself. 

Writing is hard. Walter Wellesley “Red” Smith said, “You simply sit down at the typewriter, open your veins, and bleed.” Our words mean so much and represent who we are. It’s emotionally taxing to write and then submit those words to the world.

16. Write it down.

I’m a hug fan of journaling. Writing things down helps me process life. In addition, it gives me good material for future projects.

17. Seek time apart. 

Yes, we need to nurture the relationships in our lives, but we also need to embrace solitude. For me this means time in nature, as well as time in prayer and spiritual contemplation.

These are the things I try to put into practice to stay healthy and care for the digital parts of my creative life. Now it’s your turn. How do you build Digital Soul Care into your creative life?

Learn more from Edie Melson, Sally Hamer, Margie Lawson, and four other amazing writers by attending the “Polishing Your Mirror: Self-Care for Writers” Symposium, March 23-24, 2024. Visit MindPotential.org for more info!

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About Edie

Edie Melson is a woman of faith with ink-stained fingers observing life through the lens of her camera. She’s learned to embrace the ultimate contradiction of being an organized creative. As an author, blogger, and speaker she’s encouraged and challenged audiences across the country and around the world. Her numerous books reflect her passion to help others develop the strength of their God-given gifts and apply them to their lives, often using creativity to empower this connection. The Write Conversation, the blog she developed and manages, reaches thousands and has been on the Writer’s Digest Top 101 Sites for Writers since 2017.

As a social media and blogging expert she’s worked with clients that range from authors and speakers to business and ministry leaders. She also knows the necessity of Soul Care and leads retreats, conferences & workshops around the world on staying connected to God. Her numerous books, including the award-winning Soul Care series reflect her passion to help others develop the strength of their God-given gifts. She’s the director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference and board member of the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. Connect with Edie on her blog, The Write Conversation, Facebook, X (Twitter), Instagram, and other places on social media.

Top Image by Rosy / Bad Homburg / Germany from Pixabay

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29 comments on “17 Tips to Care for the Writer's Digital Soul”

  1. Wow, Edie! GREAT tips! Printing them off now so that I can implement them.

    All at once are almost overwhelming. Maybe one or two a week?

    Thanks for your amazing wisdom!
    Sally

  2. Edie, This is a fantastic blog post filled with great tips. I especially appreciated when you said your phone is not your office. I need to cease the "available all hours" mentality.

  3. Hi Edie,

    These are wonderful suggestions!

    I take time to do other things I enjoy, even if I am terrible at it. Right now, I 'm learning to play guitar, and I have a long way to go. LOL

    Different creative outlets help!

  4. These are great tips Edie! So many valuable lessons in this list! I’ve been working on separating work from family time. Actually putting my electronics aside to spend focused one on one time. And turning off work mode on Sundays! Taking a creative break for the Sabbath is key for me!

  5. I am so grateful for these reminders, Edie. Number three is difficult and draining. Since many of our ministry partners are in Latvia, we spend a lot of time in Zoom meetings planning ministry events and humanitarian aid. We counteract that in the US office by having all our local meetings off-site at a coffee shop or somewhere else relaxed. That helps with the balance.

    I've recently been challenged by several people to take number thirteen more seriously. I guess I'll take this post as a final confirmation from God. 🙂

    1. Josh, yes! I’ve found I have to schedule online meetings with care. They’re a great way to connect, but they are so draining! Blessings, E

  6. Great tips for us shoehorning too much life into too short days. Thanks for giving us perspective and ideas to find more balance.

  7. This is such a good, concise list, Edie. Very actionable and memorable! I especially like playing music while I work, taking field trips, taking care of your physical health, and mixing it up with the types of writing you do. All great tips! Thanks for sharing this!!

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