Self-care is a big and important trend nowadays.
It’s always a good reminder to stop, reset, and sink down into a lavender-scented bubble bath while listening to Enya.
A reminder to de-stress from work or school or kids or the copious amounts of leftovers in the fridge that you need to use up, by drinking tea or petting the dog.
But I feel like writers have a special sort of stress in their lives…because our work involves being mentally alert all the time.
“Leaving work at the office” is impossible for a writer! To gather ideas that fuel our imagination, we have to be in go-mode constantly so that we don’t miss inspiration when it comes.
To help combat the feeling of a thousand hippopotamuses weighing on your mind, here are 5 tips to help you care for yourself during your writing career:
#1 Chase a Few Rabbits
I don’t know about you, but once I get started on a project, I feel like I cannot go outside of it until I am DONE…or else I risk ditching it altogether. Give me an inch, and I will not only take a mile, but I will run a marathon in the exact opposite direction.
Or, you might be someone who goes on so many rabbit trails that you can’t remember where the original trail was and now you have a basket full of random bunnies and honestly what have you done.
Either way, here is my secret for avoiding creative burn-out:
Don’t be afraid to work on something else…in moderation.
Take a few days, or even a week. Work on something small (warning: DO NOT start an entire novel that has enough worldbuilding to fill a new Disney park. I am watching you. And I will find you).
Start an outline, a short story, a fanfiction, or make a Pinterest board.
Little breaks will not get you arrested.
#2 Don’t Write at All
*fends off the mob with a stick*
“What do you mean, NOT WRITE?” the mob cries.
“We have to write EVERY DAY OR ELSE WE AREN’T WRITERS AT ALL!” the angry tailor screams, shaking his sewing needle threateningly.
Hear me out.
It’s pretty simple.
You do not have to write every day.
No matter what anybody or any blog tells you, it is good for your creative mechanics to take some time off.
Just like Chick-Fil-A closes down shop on Sundays, you need to reset too. Be like Chick-Fil-A and take a break.
Once in a while, just try to turn the writing brain OFF. Don’t think about it. Don’t worry about it. Just forget writing altogether for a few hours or a few days.
#3 Come Out of Your Cave
Talk to other writers.
Yeah, I know it involves changing out of your Pj’s and opening the blinds for once, but ya gotta do it.
And I’m not talking about a meeting, I’m talking about chatting in general with like-minded people who have similar goals.
I can’t even stress how imperative it is for a writer to be a reader.
If you neglect to read, it’s like cutting off a good leg just because you think you can walk with one instead of two.
And I’m the world’s worst.
Last year, I only read FOUR books.
But since January, I’ve read about seven books so far! And I’ve noticed SUCH a difference in my creativity!
However, we all go through seasons, so I’m not saying that you’re a failure if you don’t read.
But also…you really should make an effort to do so.
And why is this self-care?
Because taking a break from the stress of writing, escaping to another world with a cup of tea, and letting your own creativity rest while absorbing the unique creativity of someone else is something every writer needs to do.
#5 Don’t Forget Why You Write
Why did you start writing? Why do you keep going?
Don’t lose sight of that.
We are writers because we see into different worlds that no one else has thought of before.
We write because we love imagination. In ourselves and others.
If you’re forcing yourself to create and you’re not enjoying the process, then chances are that your readers feel that too.
Sure, we all hit ruts where we don’t enjoy writing, and we should keep pressing on.
But if, at the end of the day, you dread having to work on your project, you need to step back. To reevaluate your goals and how you’re going to get there.
Don’t lose sight of the things you love.
I hope this little list had a few good reminders! Tell me: What are some other ways you take care of yourself when you’re writing?