5 Great Self-Care Tips for Writers
I don’t know about you, but self-care can be a challenge for me. It’s an oft-neglected part of our busy lives anyway, and then you add writing goals, and self-care moves ever further down the list of priorities. For the sake of all of us (myself included!), I’m here today to share my best self-care tips for writers.
1) We’ll start with the basics. Don’t compare yourself to other writers.
I’m sure we’re all painfully familiar with this advice, as our family and friends notice we’re struggling with the self-doubt that accompanies being an artist of any kind. To fight against those doubts, I suggest choosing a time – before or after a writing session works well for me – to appreciate your own strengths instead of focusing on what you think is lacking. Are you great at dialogue? Awesome! Own it! Is your prose on point? That’s fantastic! Taking a moment to think about what we like about our own writing is something I think we can all benefit from.
2) Set up your space.
I addressed this briefly in my blog post about getting back into writing after a dry spell, but I want to dive a little deeper here. What does your ideal writing space look like? I make sure to have a full water bottle, my outline, notes and plotting cards within reach, and writing utensils ready to go. Not to mention a cup of coffee or glass of wine (depending on the time of day) and maybe a couple of snacks. You may want a candle, incense, or essential oil diffuser to fill your writing space with pleasant or invigorating scents. Nothing pulls me out of the writing groove quite like having to interrupt myself to go grab something that I forgot, so it’s incredibly helpful to just have everything handy from the get-go.
3) Collaboration is a great form of self-care for writers, too!
When I first started looking for a group of authors to meet with, it sounded like a lot of pressure. I had flashbacks to group projects in college, in which I put tremendous pressure on myself to pull my weight within the group. After a few sessions with a couple of local writer friends, I realized quickly that working alongside other writers is actually quite inspiring! We all write within different genres, but the opportunity to exchange tips, ideas, and constructive criticism is so valuable. We meet in different places: at someone’s home, a local park with a great view, or even at Starbucks. Bonus: You’re not only taking care of yourself, you’re helping take care of other writers, too!
4) Manage your writing goals.
Ok, we all know that it’s important to set and stick to our writing goals. But what if you’re in the middle of a writing session and start to notice you’re not feeling so great? The priority here is to be mindful, physically and emotionally. I, for one, have to pay attention to my stress levels when I’m writing. If I don’t take a few moments to stretch every 10 minutes or so, my shoulders start to move toward my ears, and before I know it, I’ve got knots that won’t quit. Similarly, if I’m writing a particularly emotionally demanding scene, it can kick up my anxieties, and I have to take a break. It can be hard to tear ourselves away from our work, but sometimes we just have to stick in the proverbial bookmark and come back to it when we’ve taken some downtime.
5) Finally, don’t forget to treat yourself!
So, what do you do to take care of yourself when you’re not working? Answers may vary; I like to take baths, play video games, or sit on the porch on a nice day and read. I also indulge myself in the occasional massage to deal with those pesky knots I talked about before. You can also go out for some exercise, watch a favorite TV series or movie, or spend some time playing with your kids (if applicable). I’m never not thinking about my novel, but the things I do when I’m not writing allow me a bit of a mental break so I can come back to the page with fresh eyes.
Don’t forget that the Scribbler team has our backs when it comes to self-care for authors, too! Nothing says self-care quite like treating yourself to a monthly box or picking out a few items in the shop to brighten your day and enhance your writing experience. Happy writing!