Authors fall into this odd little cranny between entrepreneur and passionate artist. Because of that, we commonly find ourselves flipping from one extreme to another - furiously scribbling our stories during jolts of inspiration to banging our heads against our desks and chugging stale coffee because the words just won't come. Juggling both aspects and maintaining balance between both sides can easily become draining and emotionally taxing.
Deadlines, plot holes, and your inner self-talk begin to lead to overwhelm, self-doubt, and burn out. All of that can spiral into one hot mess of a writer's rut, leaving us feeling defeated.
Friend, that is not what I want for you and your author journey. That is the exact reason why you'll commonly hear me shouting about self-care and urging writers to incorporate it into their daily lives. Yes, daily!
Here are five essential self-care practices that will help minimize the internal and external chaos. Let’s dive in!
1) Own It - You Are An Author
Before we go any further, there is something I need you to know. Do you write books? Do you use your mind to create characters and worlds and plots? Yes?
You are an author.
Now you may be thinking-
but I don't write every day
but I don't have a published book yet
but I don't have as many readers as this other writer
A book deal isn't the qualifying factor to being an author. If you have made the decision to take your writing seriously and write your stories - then you are an author. It's that simple! Use that title, friend. Claim it.
2) Develop A Healthy Schedule
ARG! The dreaded "p" word... yep, I'm going to say it.
Everyone knows I'm all about planning and scheduling and goal setting. They are so essential to success and a happy well being. A healthy schedule will include the following:
- A solid morning routine that sets you up for success each day.
- A daily schedule with boundaries on work time vs family / personal time.
- A weekly schedule with white space
- White space is when you plan absolutely nothing. Yes, really. Give yourself that free time, that buffer space.
- A writing schedule that gives you enough time to write joyfully and without guilt of an approaching deadline that was placed too near in the future.
- A business schedule that gives you the time to work on your business vs in. That includes maintenance tasks, marketing efforts, and all those non-writing related things that come with authorpreneurship.
3) Find A Community
Writing can be lonely work. Especially if you are surrounded by non-writers who just don't get it. It's easy to let their doubts creep into our own minds.
That’s why finding a community of like-minded writers is so important! Introverts - I know what you are thinking - and that doesn't mean you have to go jump into a local writers group gathering (though you totally can). The internet is a wonderful place that can bring folks together from all over the globe - and you don't even have to change out of your coffee-stained yoga pants to get involved!
There are tons of micro-writing communities across the web on all sorts of platforms where you can seek support, encouragement, and community- Facebook, Instagram, Youtube.
4) Set Up Systems To Serve You
What? Systems are self-care? Of course, they are!
Some side effects of authorship include overwhelm, disorganization, feeling frazzled, too many genius ideas to know what to do with, and drowning in notes. Nothing is worse than sitting down to work and having to shuffle through a million notebooks, computer files, and planners.
Or even worse - finding out you've lost something (or an entire manuscript file) before getting the chance to back it up!
That's no way to thrive, friend. It's time to set up an organized system that serves you and makes your life easier. My favorite tools for this are Google Drive and Trello.
5) Care For Your Body
Slouching over a computer screen all day does horrors for both your body and your mind. Do them both a favor and care for them. Schedule in daily movement and rests. This could look like:
- A short yoga session
- Morning meditation
- The pomodoro technique (20 minutes of focused work followed by 5 minutes of rest)
- Body stretches between writing sprints
- An afternoon walk
- An evening journaling session
- Making sure you are drinking enough water (sorry, coffee)