Friday, April 29, 2016
Writers: It's Okay To Time Out
Writing is a lonely profession. Which can become a stressful profession if you're not careful. Learning to take time for yourself can mean all the difference in the world for your physical and mental health.
As writers we tend to be more sensitive and withdrawn - like most artists. Our minds are continuously thinking about our books - or book-brain as I so lovingly like to call it. Yes, writing can be put in the same category as artists. Instead of painting on a canvas, we paint with words. We are creators of stories and should be proud that we are giving the world what it has craved since the beginning of time.
But now, instead of orally, we write them down - with the exception of a good campfire ghost story. And we put our fables out to the public hoping others will enjoy them also. However, it's not enough that we write the stories and upload them to Amazon. Now we have to market them and in this very competitive profession, it's a monotonous situation.
I thought I would give you some tips for those times when you are stressed from lack of sales, or tons of critique red marks strewn across your chapter. Or maybe it's the ongoing list of to-do's each day. Whatever is overwhelming you, you need to turn your attention to taking care of you. Because after all, you come first.
I'm sure you've heard suggestions like take a hot bath, or a walk, but there are some other things you can to to give yourself a break. I hope you try some of these and, if you feel inclined, let me know if they helped you.
First off - Your physical health
Depending on where you live, taking a walk can really help you unwind. If it's a nice, warm day, getting out in Gods' country and breathing in the fresh air can go along way with your mental, as well as your physical, health.
But if you're like me and are dealing with perpetual snow this spring, then yoga can really do the trick. Even if it's only 5 to 10 minutes, it will make you feel better. If you can do this each day, or every other, try to build on the length of time for better results.
Another good one is going to the gym. The only thing I don't like about the gym is the fact it's usually busy. So what I do instead is go to water exercise. Water therapy is wonderful. Not only are you in warm water and can soak your cares away, but if you go when there are no classes you can do your own exercise regimen and still take the time to relax. And, not to mention, it's low impact on your body.
Hot tubs, or even better, hot springs, are great also. I know not everyone lives in a state with hot springs available, but a hot tub will work too. Also massage. I love a good massage! Or acupuncture.
One more thing - your diet. I know I am really bad about this, especially because I am home alone and it's a comfort thing. If you can talk yourself into not eating a lot of junk, but instead once a week prepare a big container of salad and one of fruit, maybe you will choose to eat that instead. If it is cold out, I tend to not want a salad, but a good veggie soup with crackers are a great substitute. Watch the caffeine too. We tend to suck on coffee or pop all day and that will push our stress levels higher. A good suggestion here is make yourself drink water along with your coffee. And use good water, not sink water.
Your mental health
Life is full of stress. Taking care of loved ones - cleaning the house - never-ending errands - paying bills - taxes - marketing your books - setting up conferences - paying for said conferences - and the list goes on. Now add writing to the mix, and you are in overload.
I think one of the things is realizing you don't have to feel guilty to enjoy one of life's pleasures. You work hard, even if you are at home writing. And add to that a job, is killer. You deserve to treat yourself.
But buying yourself an outfit, or stopping to get a latte, aren't the only things to help you breathe.
Take a nap when you can. Sleep is a wonderful way to relax. Go to a movie. Visit a friend and go to lunch. Go away for a weekend, especially where there's water or mountains. Learn how to meditate. Take a class. Build a jigsaw puzzle. Confide in your closest friend. Let people treat you once in a while. Go to a party. Play with your kids, or if it's grandkids now, play with them.
Get out - enjoy - life's too short to be continuously stressing about your books. The writing, and marketing will still be there when you get back, but you will feel better and be ready to tackle it once again.
Being a writer myself I know how it usually is. And we should learn to love ourselves enough to walk away when we need to and take time out for everything else in our lives that is precious to us.
I hope this little reminder helps you to refocus for a while. What do you do to break up the monotony? Leave me a comment, I'm always open to hear suggestions myself.
Until next time, have a great weekend and don't worry, Lore is almost ready for you to purchase. I'm just waiting on the proof right now. djenworld.com