As a therapist, I always find myself preaching about self-care and how to achieve it. Whether it be to my clients who are probably sick and tired of listening me ask them about their daily self-love or my friends, the one group of people I adore who don’t normally take time for themselves are writers––the people who probably need it the most are not taking care of themselves. Why?
A few reasons.
There’s this myth that writers have to sit in front of a computer or piece of paper and pour out their souls. Some of that is true, especially if you’re going to get an emotional or difficult scene written. The part that’s not right is the idea that you have to suffer.
Sure, if you think suffering leads to greatness, I can’t change your mind, but if you’re like me, you want to be well rounded so your character’s can be, too. A part of being a good writer, heck maybe even a great one, is to take care of the very vessel your writing flows out of––your body. If you’re struggle through a piece of work, why are you hurting yourself by pushing through the pain?
I know I’m really guilty of sitting for long periods of time writing, and trust me I live for those days, but I also know when I have days I don’t feel like writing or nothing of substance comes out, I have to remind myself to stop and take a breath. I focus on my self-care and living my life. The words will flow, but maybe not that day or week or even month. It’s a part of the process.
Let me say that again: it’s all a part of the process.
Pushing words out for the sake of doing it isn’t going to impress your readers or dare I say it? Help you on your creative journey. You know what will? Taking time for yourself and doing what your body is asking you to do. Who knows, it might know better than you and when you come back to write, your soul might be set on fire.