Do you remember to take care of your inner writer even when you are not writing (or thinking about writing)?
I sincerely believe everything in our lives is connected, meaning that what you do in one area of your life influences other areas. And that is especially true for writers because you cannot separate a writer from the person that they are when they are not writing. Everything you do and everything you are has an impact on your inner writer. And everything you do and everything you are is intertwined in your writing, whether you like it or not.
The following is a list of self-care advice, writers edition. These are tips to help achieve creative well-being focused on a writer’s lifestyle, but I do believe they might help everyone that wants to grow as a person.
1. Connect with yourself
My first advice to you: Connect with yourself. It might seem simple, but it can be quite difficult sometimes. Or maybe we forget about it because of its simple appearance. As a writer (and a person) it is almost imperative that you be in tune with yourself. That’s why my first advice to you is to do something just for yourself every once in a while.
In other words, reconnect with yourself by doing something you love. This can be anything, and I mean, anything in the world. It can be found in your usual practice, like yoga, physical exercise, or going out for a walk. Or maybe you find it in something fun. Maybe you enjoy putting on make-up or dancing around the house. It might be something more on the quiet side, like reading or meditating. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it helps you connect with yourself and you do it only for yourself.
How do you know what that might be for you? Well, maybe you already have your own go-to activity to reconnect with yourself. But if you don’t, that’s no problem. Try different things. Be mindful, especially of how you feel afterwards. The idea is to fill your cup and give you joy. In addition, try something not only once, but try practising it for a while and see if and how it influences your way of thinking and your way of going from day to day. I suggest you check how you feel after doing an activity and stick to the ones after which you feel good, alive, and just … you.
2. Get to know yourself
The second little piece of advice is going to be very similar but at the same time almost the opposite of the first one. Get to know yourself. How do you do that? By gaining new experiences and observing how you react to them. This way, you might learn something new about yourself, and also evolve your mindset through new experiences.
Try challenging yourself just a little by doing something unusual. Try something that might be considered as “out of your character”. Or maybe something you’ve wanted to do for a long time, but never really gathered the courage to do it. Or it can just be something silly that is not part of your everyday life. It can be a teeny tiny thing, like brushing your teeth with a different hand than usual. Or it can be big, like bungee jumping. Or moving to a different continent. If your “activity to connect with yourself” was closer to meditation, try something more active now. And vice versa. If you best fill up your cup by running, for example, then try meditating, even if you are afraid you will get bored.
I want to assure you that not liking or enjoying this “new thing”, whatever it may be, is perfectly okay. This is about observing yourself and others. You’re supposed to learn about yourself, not enjoy every second of every little thing. So whatever you experience, is okay. You might surprise yourself or you might discover a different side of you. Then again, you might find that you had the right idea and that you really don’t like that thing you thought you wouldn’t like. But the point is in the experience. So whatever it is, just try it. And above all, notice what happens.
This is one of my favourite things to do. To play. It is such a simple word that can include so much. You can play a lot of things – board games, card games, video games, you can play pretend, dress-up, and remember that playing an instrument is also “playing”. You can even make up your own games!
Whatever you do, don’t be afraid to get silly. Try to find some playfulness in the things you do every day. You can create your own game out of nothing or (my go-to recipe for when I don’t feel like doing chores) create a game out of the things you have to do anyway, thus making them more fun and enjoyable. See what happens and have fun!
This is such a simple and effective way to bring yourself to the present moment, but we often forget about it. That’s why it is important to repeatedly remember to take a moment and just… breathe.
This simple thing is sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself. Whenever you feel stuck or tired or irritated or anything of that sort, take a deep breath. And then another one. And then another one. It doesn’t immediately fix all the problems you have, but it helps you calm down and change your perception of the problems. Which is the first step to solving them anyway! So remember to breathe and take it one day (or sentence) at a time.
As a writer, it is important to not limit your creativity to words on paper. In addition to that, I believe it’s also important to think about the notion of creativity in general. What does it mean to create? What does being creative mean to you? Can you find a little spark of creativity in your everyday life and notice whenever you are in fact making something out of nothing?
It’s really just about staying creative in all areas of your life. But that doesn’t mean doing something extra all the time. Notice the elements of creating something new in your everyday life – every time you cook something, you create something. Basically, to create something, you don’t have to move mountains. You can paint, doodle, do crafts, make candles, make jewellery, sew, do some woodworking, write music, improvise… It’s just awesome to keep that creative energy flowing and fresh. Now that can be done through participating in other arts, doing some DIY projects, or simply wearing different coloured socks. The possibilities are endless.
I’m not talking about pressuring yourself into doing something you don’t want to do, but rather finding a little creative spark that you enjoy (outside of writing). That can help you as a writer by either balancing the creative energy out, starting the creative juices flowing, or just giving you a nice break, during which usually the best ideas appear!
6. Move your body
If you also tend to get caught up in writing or other mental activities, then this is just the right friendly reminder for you. Try to find any way of movement that suits your body, from dancing to yoga, from running to playing basketball, from push-ups to jumping around on one leg. Yes, there are so many good reasons to do that, but the best one is simply that you will feel awesome afterwards.
Writing is physically a very static activity, so make sure you also tend to your body. Because the oxygen provided to your brain will help you think clearer. Because it will feel amazing (especially if you have just spent a lot of time behind your desk). And because it will enable you to keep writing for a long long time!
I really believe that everything we do in life is connected and what you do outside of your writing time, shows in your writing. I also believe there is a way of moving for everyone. You just try to find one that suits you and your boy. Whatever feels good and gets you moving (at whatever pace). As an additional little challenge, I invite you to take on one way of moving and after doing it for a few months, notice if it had any effect on your writing or how you approach it. This is a great way to explore what works for you and helps you be an awesome writer (and human being!).
Journaling is also a type of writing, but completely different from a story-focused one. You have no plot to finish, no information to give to the reader, and no outline to follow. It’s just you and the journal, completely freestyling it, following your thought waves and verbalizing your emotions. It’s great for getting in touch with yourself and processing some things in your life. But if that’s not your jam, you can look at it as an exercise in how a person’s thought process goes!
What kind of journal you keep is again completely up to you. It can be one with planned-out questions or a gratitude journal. But if you prefer, it can also be a blank notebook or just you and a piee of paper. The choice is yours as long as you try to do it at least semi-regularly. Keeping a journal daily (or regularly in some other way) is a great practice for keeping a consistent habit. Plus, it’s so much fun to look back and read entries from the past!
8. Talk to people
Do you often get sucked into your own little world and forget to check in with friends or family? It is a very common writing phenomenon – to live in your project, to think a liiiitle bit too obsessively about it, and to forget about other people from time to time. I would like to encourage you to try to keep in touch (in whatever way and however often you like). It can be via phone calls, texts, video calls, letters, forums, comments, pigeon mail… What I’m trying to say is, don’t forget to maintain and nurture human contact. For your sake, for the sake of your writing, and for your friends’ sake.
This concludes my list of advice for writers (and non-writers alike). It is not a list of rules, but rather a list of kind reminders. Besides, you can see that one activity can often combine many of them – for example, “play” and “create” might go hand in hand. Or “play” and “talk to people”. Additionally, it is good to remember that nurturing your inner writer, your inner creativity, is a process. Actually, it is a practice. The important thing here is that you try to tend to it regularly and whenever needed. You know, the journey is the destination.
The last thing I would like to stress is the importance to develop a good relationship with yourself. To achieve that, you should be honest and open with yourself. That way, you will notice when you need something or when you’re out of balance, and you will be able to tend to it. Subsequently, you will become an awesome person and, even more important, an awesome writer!
Let me know what you think, how you like to nurture your writing side, and if this article helped or inspired you in any way!