As a writer, it's easy to get caught up in the hustle of producing content and neglecting your own well-being. Writer burnout (you know, that overwhelming feeling of being done with everything and everyone) is a very real issue. Taking the time to practice self-care can help you overcome and even avoid stress, anxiety, burnout, and more when it comes to writing.
Self-care is about making time for yourself, replenishing your creativity, and doing things that make you feel fulfilled and happy. In this article, we'll take a look at some practical self-care tips specifically for writers. We'll explore ways you can find balance, prioritize yourself, and stay focused and motivated to write in 2023.
If you're ready to give your writing career the attention it deserves, to carve out time for yourself and practice self-care, and to kick off a great year of writing, then let's get started on exploring some tips that will help you succeed in all of your writing goals.
Quick ideas you can try today
Before we really get into it, here are a few simple changes you can make right now to kickstart your self-care journey.
- Light a candle in your working space.
- Every 1000 words, take a 10 minute walk.
- Go to bed 20 minutes early.
- Meet another writer for coffee.
- Write a to-do list.
- Listen to music.
Meditation is a great tool for self-care as it can help to reduce stress, anxiety, and burnout, while increasing your focus, creativity, and productivity. Meditation is a practice of calming your mind and focusing on your breath. Consider adding in some relaxation techniques, such as visualization or guided imagery. Try popular apps to help guide you like Headspace or Calm. By taking just a few minutes each day to meditate, you can reap the benefits for your mental and physical health.
Create a morning routine
By having a morning routine, you can change your outlook of the entire day. Instead of rolling out of bed, grabbing your laptop and coffee, and getting straight to writing, consider setting aside some time for an effective morning routine. Here are some ideas to get you started. Dedicate some time to you, whether that means taking a shower, doing your skincare routine, meditating, or going for a walk—something to refresh your mind and body. Next, take time to get organized and set intentions for the day. Make a list of tasks, prioritize them, and set realistic goals. Finally, don't forget to eat a nourishing breakfast to give you the energy you need to get through the day. Everyone is different, so find what works to set you up for a successful day.
Bonus: Once your morning routine is in place, consider implementing an evening/sleep routine too!
Set realistic goals
Setting realistic goals is an important part of being a successful writer. Taking the time to map out short- and long-term goals will help you stay motivated and on track. Start by considering what you'd like to accomplish. Maybe it's completing a certain amount of writing by a certain deadline, publishing a certain number of chapters per week, or even just making your bed each morning. You can gradually work your way up to larger commitments.
Once you've set your goals, break them down into smaller, more achievable tasks and timelines. Be realistic about what you can achieve in a given timeframe. If it's not realistic, chances are you won't be able to stick with it, so don't set yourself up for failure. Aim to make measurable progress each day, week, and month—and be sure to celebrate when you accomplish each goal and reward yourself for a job well done.
Download our fillable goals list to get started on your goal setting.
Prioritize your health
How do you stay healthy as a writer? The key, if you're catching on, is self-care! Taking care of both your physical and mental health can help you maintain a healthy balance of mind, body, and spirit—all things that will play into your well-being and ability to write productively. Make sure to set up some form of regular exercise (ideally 30 minutes or more per day!) and really stick to it. Exercise can reduce stress, increase endorphins, and improve the quality of your health overall. Go for a walk, sign-up for an online exercise class, try yoga, take a dance class, go to the gym, or do some stretches.
In addition to exercise, make sure you're drinking enough water, getting lots of sleep, and eating healthy meals. Taking time to relax and time to socialize can also have a positive impact on your mental and physical health. Overall, taking care of yourself is the best way to ensure that you stay healthy, creative, and productive as a writer.
Set writing hours
Create writing hours for yourself and stick to them to ensure a healthy work-life balance. Whether writing is a part- or full-time gig for you, create a regular schedule with a firm start and stop time that you know you can stick to. Choose a realistic time of day when you are most productive and least likely to be distracted. While you'll always want to jot down ideas as they come to you, try to make sure working outside of your set hours is kept to a minimum so you can use that time to really step away. You might just surprise yourself at how much more productive you can be when you give yourself the time to rest and recharge!
Call a friend or family member
Take your mind off writing for a minute and call up a friend or family member. Seeing or talking to your loved ones is a great way to reset and reduce stress. They can sometimes help share a different perspective on your work, or help inspire or energize you for your next project. But most importantly, socializing is a great reminder to take a break from your writing and focus on something else. Catch up on what's been happening in your friend's life, share stories, and don't forget to show your appreciation!
Take breaks regularly
Taking regular breaks is essential for writers, especially those prone to burnout or writer's block. Taking a break can help clear your mind, spark creativity, and give you the energy to keep writing. Give yourself permission to rest and recoup. Whether that means going for a quick walk around the block, petting your cat, doing a stretch, having a cup of tea away from the computer, or something bigger like a weekend getaway, give yourself permission to take the break you need. For short breaks during your writing hours, set alarms to remind yourself to step away from your desk—and do it—even if you're in the middle of a really great scene.
Find a creative outlet
If you find yourself too stressed to write, or simply need a productive break, try another creative activity you enjoy. Creative projects or hobbies are a great way to get your mind off writing. Do a little exploring and try to find a hobby that's different from writing such as drawing, baking, learning an instrument, doing puzzles, or pottery. Writing can take up a lot of emotional energy, and finding a creative outlet can help you replenish that energy and get back to writing with a newfound enthusiasm.
Writing can be a draining and demanding profession. It can take a toll on your physical and mental health if you don't practice self-care. Having a healthy lifestyle, setting realistic goals, and taking breaks are all essential to avoiding writer burnout. It's also important to surround yourself with supportive people and make time for activities that bring you joy and fulfillment. Finally, don't forget to celebrate successes, both big and small.
Taking care of yourself as a writer is essential to staying productive and creative. Do what you can to make sure you're working sustainably. There's only one you and we need you! Follow these self-care tips to make sure you stay healthy and happy in your writing career, and that you get to write the incredible stories you were meant to.