Ways to Care For Yourself as a Writer

“A healthy outside starts from the inside.”
– Robert Urich

Writing is hard work. It means hours sitting at a desk and typing away at a keyboard. Or, perhaps you have the benefit of a standing desk. Whatever the case, we have to drive ourselves to finish a writing project we have started. This isn’t going to be possible if we don’t care of ourselves or our craft. So today kick back; relax. These techniques are going to pamper you and take the strain off your current writing project.

First and foremost, call yourself what you are: a writer. If you have published books, this makes you an author. If you have published newspaper or magazine articles, you’re likely a freelance contractor or a journalist. Own up to the title. Be proud of what you have accomplished. Pat yourself on the back. It’s likely that it hasn’t been easy to get there. There’s been long hours and months spent in (and out) of classrooms. You’ve had to research and work harder than ever before. That’s not easy but you never gave up.

You need to learn to accept all criticism—just not the feedback you want to hear at the time. I get it. Negative criticism hurts sharper than a scorpion sting, but let it roll off your back. Rather than focusing on those that aren’t your fans, focus on those that are your cheerleaders. Who is buying your books or articles? What are they saying about your work? If they are raving with praise and compliments, this overshadows those that don’t appreciate your craft.

If you’re a work-at-home writer, get up. Move around and take frequent breaks. You may be used to working an 8-hour day sitting in your chair all day long, but guess what? Our bodies were not designed for that. The more you sit, the more likely you’re gain weight and open your body to a host of illnesses. On that note, take part in exercise and eat healthy. Take your dog for a walk around the block. Walk your kids to school or go to a park and plug in the music while you jog. Eat a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and lean meats. Cut out the preservatives, sugars, salts and fatty foods.

Try also to get into a reading routine. Let’s face it. The majority of writers get their ideas from books. Read anything and everything you can. If you commute to work, purchase an e-reader or read on your phone. Libraries have e-books you can get directly through your local library’s application—for free. Carry a notebook with you in case an idea for a story pops into your head. Write it down while at work on the bus. Because, after all, you know the saying: If you wait to write ideas down…they slip away. Reading expands our minds as writers. It deepens our writing and expands our vocabulary. Make yourself a reading list and always hold true to it.

On the same note, keep a journal. The type of journal you keep is strictly up to you. Many choose to keep a chronological journal, in which they record the day’s events. Some keep reading journals. They write down words or ideas from the book they are currently reading. And, some keep journals relevant to their current work in progress. This could be a journal that relates to each character in your novel, for instance, or one specific character per journal. It’s your creativity and your imagination; you hold the key.

And finally, make yourself a backup. If you know me well, you know I don’t trust a computer. With one keystroke all your files can be gone. Isn’t that terrifying? Weeks and months you spent on a novel and then your computer gets a virus; all that work is lost. Do yourself a favor and back it up in the cloud and on a removable hard drive that connects to your computer by USB. I would even go as far to print it out or send a copy to a friend. If you’re serious about your writing (which I hope you are), you need to do this.

So take care of yourself. YOU are worth it!

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