Hello dear readers!
Today, it is my immense pleasure to feature the beautiful and talented Melody Personette on my blog <3 Melody is a young writer I met recently. Her sweet heart and whimsical novels are such a light–be sure to check out the links for them here and here. Today she is sharing on the blog about the important and wonderful ways that we can both refresh our creative sides, but also take the time to slow down and rejuvenate our souls. Self-care, because even we dragon-slaying writers need a moment to ourselves now and then… 🙂
Hi everyone! First of all, I want to say thank you to Kara for letting me guest post on her blog. I’ve never guest posted on a blog before so this is pretty awesome and exciting.
So, this past week Victoria Schwab (one of my all time favorite writers!) posted on Twitter about self-care, specifically for writers. She asked her followers to give her some self-care ideas to recharge after a stressful month and I was looking through the thread and there were some pretty awesome/great ideas! But it got me thinking, what does self-care look like for writers? For some people, writing is a form of self-care. But what if you need a break from writing? There are lots of different forms that this can take. Sometimes I’m in the middle of, or have just finished, writing a massive book project. Like one of those huge novels and it’s taken me a month or two, my brain feels tired and drained and I just need a break. Then there are others and other times for me when I just need a break from writing in general. What does that look like? Should writers even be allowed for taking breaks from writing? Should we feel guilty for not writing day in and day out?
Victoria Schwab brought this up too and I thought her response was interesting. She more or less said that just because she’s a writer people expect her to be at her keyboard typing away twenty-four/seven. Or even since she knows she’s a writer and has deadlines or really wants/needs to finish this certain project she feels that she needs to be writing every second of the day. Do you feel that way too? I do. A lot. On a slow writing day when either I’ve been busy with other things or just felt too drained or tired mentally to write I’ll go on Twitter or Instagram (Instagram especially) and see or hear about other writers writing and how they just wrote five thousand words or they’re up at ten/eleven/twelve at night writing away because #writerlife and I feel guilty. I look at how much they’re accomplishing and doing and then look at myself and shame myself and make myself feel bad for not writing anything or just a few hundred words that day.
We as writers need to get out of that habit of thinking. We need to tell ourselves and know that it is Ok to take a break from writing. To do something else. To do some self-care or just step away from the keyboard and breathe. Sometimes you don’t even need to stop writing or take a break from the keyboard to take a break from writing. Yeah, I know that sounds weird, but it’s true! If you feel drained and overly stressed about a certain project, that stress can lead to writer’s block and that doesn’t do you any good. Click off that Word document and open a fresh one and just free write. Or write a short story. Write the beginning of a short story or the beginning of a whole new book or a scene in an alternate dimension with characters you’re familiar with. Write fan fiction. Just give yourself permission to go crazy and write whatever you want. I can tell you from experience, that it is the most freeing, wonderful, rejuvenating thing I’ve ever done as a writer. The best thing I ever did for myself as a writer was give myself permission to be crazy and write whatever I want without judging my writing or showing anyone what I wrote. I give myself permission to write for myself.
But for those who just need a break and need some serious self-care for stressful weeks/days/years whether it pertains to writing or just life in general (because life isn’t all rainbows and butterflies all the time… or any of the time really) then stepping back from the keyboard and taking a break from writing is a good idea. Give yourself permission to not write. Use that #amnotwriting hashtag. I have and I’m Ok with that! You should be too! Being a writer doesn’t mean that life doesn’t happen. It doesn’t mean that things can’t get messy. That you don’t have friends that need your attention or family that you need to spend time with. I’ve learned the hard way that being a writer doesn’t mean that you don’t have pressure to do other things. Go to high school/college. Have classwork and papers to write. Study and learn to drive and get a job. Just because you’re a writer doesn’t mean that writing is the only thing in your life. Being a writer doesn’t mean that you don’t/can’t have a social life. And that is perfectly Ok! Pry those fingers off that keyboard and live life! Outside of that little room full of magic where you create whole worlds and casts of people there’s this thing called outside. With grass and the sun and fresh air and people.
You may be saying, “Yeah, Ok, that’s great and all but what if it’s that thing called the outside with people and my life and responsibilities that I need a break from?” I am glad you asked. That is what self-care is all about. Giving you a break and letting you rest and relax before you get back to writing that fabulous, awesome, epic book that is going to be just amazing when it’s finished or before you have to get back to responsibilities and the real world and life and other people (yuck!). So, being the great person I am, I thought I’d give you a list of things you can do that is classified (or at least that I classify) as self-care that will let you take a deep breath and relax and enjoy life and yourself before getting back to writing that book or getting back to life.
For Recharging Your Creativity:
- Watch a TV Show (Old or New)
- Read a Good Book
- Write a Short Story
- Try/go use another creative outlet that you love
- Give yourself permission and free reign to fill a Word document with your creativity
- Listen to music that inspires you
- Go to a place (museum, park, garden, café, friend’s house) that inspires you
- Make a Pinterest board, spend a few hours on Pinterest gathering inspiration
- Make a Spotify playlist that will get your creativity going again/that will inspire you.
Self-Care for Day-to-Day Life:
- Take a Walk
- Make plans with a Friend
- Eat something yummy full of sugar or salt or both
- Buy something for yourself
- Take a bath
- Make yourself some relaxing tea and curl up with Netflix or a favorite movie
- Hot, long shower
- Deep condition your hair
- Use a foot scrub or rub your feet with peppermint oil and put socks on
- Take a nap or go to bed early
- Go to a park and get lost in nature
- Try/go use another creative outlet that you love
- Play/hang with your pet
- Put some headphones in and sit back and listen to some music
- Learn something new
- Try some yoga
- Clean/declutter your room
- Lay down and just rest and scroll through social media.
- Make plans with family or just go hang out with family.
- Play a board game.
- Try something new.
So, there ya go, my insanely practical list of self-care things you can do when you’re feeling stressed and life is a crazy mess. There’s this saying, this “writer rule” that if you want your writing to be a job, if you want to make a living off your writing and be a published writer one day, you need to treat your writing like a job. I agree… mostly. Treat your writing like a job. Make goal and stick to that goal. Write a hundred or even a thousand words a day and if you surpass that goal then it makes you feel great and accomplished. But, don’t let that rule of treating writing like a job stress you out and make you crazy. Victoria Schwab is one busy writer. I think she has at least three to four projects going right now? All. At. Once. My brain would crack and fall apart if I had to focus on that many writing projects at once and have a deadline for all of them. And yet, she still makes time to do some self-care, to have some “me time.” So if Victoria Schwab can do it? So can you! Take some “me time” and let yourself relax and reset after a long week of writing and work and classes and life stuff. You’re no good to anyone or your writing if you’re a frazzled mess. So, please, choose a few of the options from my list or find your own self-care options that work for you and your life and do them! You deserve it.
I hope my list and this post has helped you guys and encouraged you guys! Thanks again, Kara, for letting me guest post on your blog! It’s been awesome!
Melody Personette is a college student working toward her Liberal Arts Associate degree with her shorkie sidekick Chessie. When she’s not obsessing over her latest read, exploring parks with her five younger brothers or binge watching a new TV show, she can be found shut in her room writing books about superheroes and fantasy worlds in her pajamas.
She’s a devoted Disney fan and often times is parading around in her newest Hot Topic find. She has written the first in the Khione Series, Weapon Icean and a fantastical YA short story collection Of Magic and Mayhem. Her blog is Here and you can find Of Magic and Mayhem Here and Weapon Icean Here.