Self-Care for Writers – Final Thoughts

Happy Author

Happy Author

I’ve been running a writing message board for many years now, starting long before MySpace and LifeJournal and Facebook.

And once we had a member who was being pushed by a writing coach. He was supposed to write a short story every week and submit it somewhere, to build a name and a writing career.

A short story per week.

Now, if you think 5,000-10,000 words per week, that’s entirely doable. And I believe that with the right support in place, with good self-care, plenty of time to write, good food and exercise and such, it is even doable for a long time.

This kind of work used to be a great strategy for building a name in the genre field. And having 50 stories per year to submit and show up in various magazines is a great tactic. In theory, at least.

Or you could put that amount of work into a novel, and you’d end up with one every two to three months.

If you have a professional author set-up, it’s even easy. Writing much more than 5-10k per week is entirely possible. I know people who write that much that every day. They put in 8 hours on their writing just like a job.  They treat it like a business and a job, and they still enjoy it. They tend to make a living as writer.

This guy didn’t. He had a day job. He had no support. And I wasn’t surprised at all when he disappeared after three or four months, utterly burned out. I still blame his coach…

When I think about self-care for writers, I often think about people like him.

And if you think about it, it is really simple:

You need to take good care of yourself.

Especially, if you want to be good at writing and have a successful career. Because body, mind and soul are connected, and you can’t just use one and ignore the others.

Read that again.

We must take care of all three. Body, mind and soul.

In a way that works for you.

And only you can figure out what that is, but it’s so worth it!

Here’s some tapping for this:

Even though it’s so much effort to take good care of myself, all that precious time wasted for cooking and exercise and sleep (!), but I still love and accept myself anyway, and I now choose to know that I need to nourish all of myself in order to write well.

Even though I don’t want to waste time and energy on feeding myself, or on exercise or such, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I choose to know that this is important for my writing self.

Even though I hate the whole idea of self-care, I just want to write and make a living with it, I’m still totally okay the way I am, and I now give myself permission to take good care of myself so I can keep writing for many years.

Asking you:
What do you do for self-care?
How do you feel about doing more?
What happened while you were tapping?
And finally – what are you creating right now?
Please share in a comment.

Image Source: F. Moebius

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Self-Care for Writers – Write Every Day

Laptop - writing every day

Writing every day

Part of self-care is to maintain who we are. Or to work towards who we want to be.

For a writer, that means writing. Preferably every day.

I know it’s hard. I know I’m not doing it all the time myself.

But the truth is, you are a writer as long as you write.
(And publish your books, and market, and all of that, too.)

And in order to stay in your identity as writer, it’s very helpful to write a little every day. (Or a lot, if that works for you.)

If you stop writing – you stop being a writer. So write every day. It’s as simple as that, and yet… Continue reading

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Self-Care for Writers – Feel the Joy

Goofy Happy Joy

Goofy Happy Joy

We not only have to be aware of our thoughts and our success, we also need to be aware of our emotions.

Because they are our guides. They let us know how the things we do fit us and our dreams and goals. They warn us if something is wrong. So it’s worth it being aware of our emotions. Get that message.

And even though most of us have been taught that our emotions are like a force of nature that we have to endure, that simply isn’t true.

We can choose how to feel.

(Yes, there are limits, and I have great respect for people who carry on despite depression. *hugs for you*)

But even within those limits we can choose to feel joy.

There are tricks to do so, and it’s absolutely worth to practice this. Because feeling joy or feeling happy does a lot of good things to your body and your mind. Continue reading

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Self-Care for Writers – Guard your Success

Dreaming of Success

Dreaming of Success

Success is important for us. Even if we don’t have it right now, the whole idea of success is what keeps up going. When we dream about our success – whatever that is for you – we find the energy to keep writing, to keep marketing and to keep doing what it takes.

This in turn means that you need to protect your vision of your success from all those people around you that may doubt you and your ability to succeed.

You also need to strengthen it and keep it strong, so you can return to it whenever you run out of juice.

Usually, there are about four different ways people want to succeed when writing. I’m going to go through them and suggest some visualizations to use in your daydreaming.

Daydreaming? Continue reading

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Self-Care for Writers – Watch your Thoughts

Inner Voice

Inner Voice

“Thoughts become things.”
– Mike Dooley, Notes from the Universe

Now this may sound very, very woowoo. Very spiritual and quite useless for everyday life.

It isn’t.

Because how we think about ourselves, our writing, our lives – all of that influences our focus, our work habits and eventually what kind of lives we actually live.

And that’s why I’m writing about your (our) thoughts.

1. Thoughts about ourselves

Take a moment and listen to how you talk to yourself in your thoughts.

Most often, that voice we use to talk to ourselves is a harsh voice. A hard taskmaster. And sometimes, a rather nasty voice.

Oh, you’re such an idiot.

Not good enough. Write more.

Get moving, you lazy ass!

And so an and so forth. Does that sound familiar?

It’s how I used to talk to myself, as well. I thought that being hard on myself like that would make me work harder and get more done. I thought that was how everyone thinks to themselves.

I’ve been completely wrong. Continue reading

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Self-Care for Writers – Quieting the Mind

Peaceful Mind

Peaceful Mind

For us writers, the mind is the most important tool. It is where our stories are born. It’s where they grow into full tales that make it to the keyboard, paper or file. It’s more important than the computer and all the other tools we use to get our stories out into the world, because they wouldn’t exist without the mind.

And so we need to take care of the mind as well as the body.

And that’s especially true if we work a day job, have a family and write. It’s not always easy to let go of those parts of our lives and dive into our stories.

I’ll write about transition rituals next week, because I want to do some groundwork today.

If you’re even a bit like me, your mind is full of thoughts every moment in your life. You’re thinking about books and stories, about people you meet, you might even have conversations with them in your mind, and even when you go to bed, it’s hard to stop that run-away train of thoughts. Continue reading

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Self-Care for Writers – Posture

Jumping Jack

Jumping Jack

Now, I’m not a physiotherapist. And yes, I’ve dealt with back pains and wrenched backs a few times in my life, so I know how that feels. And I’m certainly not perfect in my posture, nor avoiding all problems.

But I know one thing: We writers tend to sit too much.

So kudos to all of you who already work at a standing desk, on a treadmill or who dictate their stories while walking outside – you’re awesome.

Most of us aren’t there.

I sit at a desk most of the time. Both at my day job and at home. I have a laptop, but I don’t feel very comfortable moving around with it. At home, my place simply is at my desk. *grins*

The one thing I do for my health while sitting at my desk is using one of those stools with rockers and knee supports. That is supposed to force me to sit up straight (also puts my hands at the optimal height for the keyboard tray), to keep me moving a little, and to keep my back muscles from atrophying. That does work unless… Continue reading

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Self-Care for Writers – Carpal Tunnel

Carpal Tunnel

Carpal Tunnel

Last week I wrote about pain and how to tap for it.

Next, I want to look at some reasons for pain that we create ourselves. I have close and personal experience with at least two of them… let’s start with the one that’s more typical for writers.

Carpal Tunnel

Unfortunately, this is a common one among writers, simply because we move our  hands so much in typing.  My own story about Carpal Tunnel is a bit unusual, but bear it in mind.

Carpal Tunnel is a repetitive strain injury.

And common wisdom holds it that it comes from too much typing.

I got a new computer at work, and my IT colleague flipped out the little supports on the keyboard before she put it on my desk, making it sit higher in the back, making me bend my wrists more when typing. I didn’t really like it, but she assured me it would make typing better. So I left it at that. Continue reading

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Self-Care for Writers – Pain

Headache

Headache

So I did a really stupid thing last night and tried to sleep through a fairly strong headache. I don’t usually take anything for headaches, but maybe I should have…

Even so, I managed to get some sleep (and had some wild dreams). The one thing that helped me sleep was EFT tapping. I’m so used to it that I can tap just feeling the tapping points and thinking the words.

I don’t recommend that for beginners, because EFT really works faster if you put your emotions behind it and speaking the sentences out loud – even cursing at times – does make it easier.

So anyway, I tapped on the pain and stuff that bothered me, and pretty soon I was yawning and falling asleep. I had to repeat that in the middle of the night, but other than that, I did get most of the sleep I need per night. (Although that darn headache still isn’t entirely gone.)

There are a few tricks to tapping on pain that I want to share with you today. Continue reading

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Self-Care for Writers – Vacation

Good self-care includes breaks.

Which is why I am on vacation this week. I’m visiting my Dad and enjoying his company very much. However, he doesn’t want to be on social media, so I’m just sharing the cosy spot on his balcony where we share meals when it’s nice and warm.

Give yourself breaks. This is a very low-cost one (just the train tickets, really), and it’s incredibly restorative.

I’ll be back to posting full articles next week.

Dad's balcony

Dad’s Balcony

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