The Importance of Self-Care for Writers
As a writer, I know firsthand how important self-care is when it comes to our craft. Writing can be an emotionally and mentally demanding process, and neglecting our self-care can lead to burnout, writer’s block, and other obstacles that get in the way of our creative output. Life in general also likes to hand out twists and turns that affect how we write and why we write.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, so it’s a perfect time to talk about why self-care is crucial for writers, especially those of us who are prone to putting our work before our own well-being. Including putting everyone else before ourselves. For me, self-care as a writer means taking regular breaks from staring at a blank page or computer screen. It’s about giving myself permission to step away from my writing and engage in activities that bring me joy, such as playing a video game, reading a book, or spending time with family and friends. When I come back to my writing, I’m often more focused and inspired than before.
Another aspect of self-care that I’ve found helpful is establishing a consistent writing routine. By setting aside dedicated time for writing, I’m able to be more productive and less stressed about fitting writing into an already busy schedule. Which I have tweaked as I went along. Sometimes we demand more of ourselves than we can give. Be careful not to overdo the scheduling. Be aware of what you can do and what else your life is also throwing at you. Of course, self-care isn’t just about taking breaks and establishing routines. It’s also about practicing self-compassion and recognizing that we’re human beings, not productivity machines. Sometimes that means giving ourselves permission to take a day off from writing or accepting that a particular project might not be our best work. Walking away from something can be hard, but I assure you when you come back to it, either you scrap it and start it again with vigor or you have come up with a way to salvage what you already created.
Self-care also includes connecting with other writers. Writing can be a solitary pursuit, and it’s easy to feel isolated and disconnected from others in the writing community. By attending writing workshops, joining writing groups, or simply chatting with fellow writers online, you can find support, inspiration, and camaraderie. On my end, I have some friends who write, and I usually will go to them with ideas or issues. I am not one to seek out more crowds of people, hence the solitary working. But like in the Sims, you need to give something to that social meter.
This isn’t about making us feel good all the time. Although, that does sound nice. It’s also about taking care of our physical and mental health. As writers, it’s easy to spend hours sitting at a desk, hunched over a computer screen. That’s why it’s important to prioritize movement and exercise in our self-care routines. Going for a run or doing some yoga can help clear our minds and boost our creativity. I don’t run, but I hear people do it. Exercise is good for mental health. I know how hard it is to get that motivation to get up and do something.
And let’s not forget about the power of humor in self-care. Writing can be a stressful and serious business, but injecting a bit of humor into our work and our self-care routines can help us keep things in perspective and avoid taking ourselves too seriously. Humor has helped me through some tough times. Not that I think we should cover everything up with humor, but it helps to lighten sometimes for heavy situations.
Self-care is essential for writers. We are in fact people too. By prioritizing our well-being, we can avoid burnout, improve our creativity, and find greater satisfaction in our writing. Since May is upon us let’s make a commitment to taking care of ourselves as writers and as human beings.