GUEST POST: Self-care is a buzzword these days. When it comes to self-care for writers, though, the concept can be especially crucial.
Paying attention to your needs helps you in multiple ways. It can prevent burnout and all of its nasty side effects. Self-care can be a critical component of maintaining creativity. And for a writer, that can be life or death in the workplace.
Here are a few ideas for self-care for writers. They’re aimed at keeping you healthy, happy, and functioning on a creative level.
Focus on the Positive
If you’re feeling depressed or anxious, you’re not alone. Writers are creatively focused individuals. This can make it easy to spiral into negative thinking. If you find that you’re struggling in this way, here are some positives to focus on:
- You can create things for a living.
- You can spend your days reading and researching along with your writing.
- Your craft is therapeutic.
- You are allowed to write for a living.
Remember, thinking about the positive elements of your work is excellent for your mind. Focusing on the negatives simply throttles your creativity.
Find Your Flow
Self-care doesn’t just take place in our personal lives. It can also impact our professional lives as well. For instance, it’s important to take the time to improve your work processes.
You may feel pressure to spend all of your work time doing the work itself. However, if you’re considering the long-term, you’re going to want to do a little more. Take some time to think about how you’re working. Ask yourself these questions — in the name of self-care — regularly:
- Are you wasting time and effort with the way that you write?
- Have you discovered your own unique writing style? Or do you simply copy others?
- Have you found your flow? In other words, can you become wholly absorbed in your work when you’re working?
It’s important to ask yourself questions like these. They can open up the door to improving your writing style. When this happens, you can find ways to write that minister to your emotions over the long term. If you can honestly say to yourself upon reflection, Yes, the way I go about writing is a tad inefficient, you can quickly turn to figuring out solutions for that inadvertent wastefulness.
When there’s a problem to solve, it’s much easier to keep yourself from falling into a mind-set of self-doubt and criticism by addressing the problem head-on with practical solutions.
Self-Care For Writers
Let’s say you’re like me, and maybe you have a tendency to edit while you compose a first draft. Knock it off. Save that editing brain for draft two. It might feel like a lot of mental wrestling to keep that editor at bay, but the time you save by staying in one mode while working on a specific task will add up in the end. You might even find that turning off the editing brain has a cascading effect on other areas of your work.
Being too critical of your own creative voice has a way of seeping into every sentence and stunting every thought, before, it even, has a chance to form.
Copying another writer’s voice and tone is often a nice crutch to cope with an overly critical inner-editor, but coping is not creative. It’s just making do. And that’s not the point at all. Asking critical questions about your own work and approach will keep your writing authentic, and help you continue evolving as a wordsmith.
Address the Stress
If you’re feeling stressed and struggling to create, consider trying some oils.
Lavender essential oil, for instance, is linked to increased mental well-being. Pop some lavender essential oil into a diffuser in your workspace.
This can be a perfect solution for writer’s block or, really, any time you’re facing a blank document.
Favour Your Physical Health
Along with dealing with mental stress, take care of your body. It’s easy for a writer to ignore the physical as you write. However, it’s easy to stagnate as a writer physically. Take time to exercise often — even a short 7-Minute Workout will help.
In addition, make sure you get dressed and make yourself presentable every day. This is important even if you’re working from home. A shabby appearance can cripple your self-confidence. Find good (though comfortable) clothes. Take a shower regularly. Even consider getting a haircut.
In general, find ways to boost your confidence. This will, in turn, boost your writing capabilities.
Taking Care of Yourself
In summary, self-care for writers includes:
- Taking care of your physical body and appearance.
- Addressing your mental well-being.
- Focusing on the positive things about your job.
- Improving how you write at all times.
If you can occasionally take time to address these items, you’ll feel the effects. Try to take care of yourself. Strive to improve at your craft. The results will take care of themselves.
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by Ainsley Lawrence. Ainsley is a freelance writer who lives in the Northwest region of the United States. She has a particular interest in covering topics related to politics, social justice, and workplace issues. When not writing, her free time is spent reading and researching to learn more about her cultural and environmental surroundings. You can follow her on Twitter @AinsleyLawrenc3
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