Love thy self.
As an author that can be difficult. We are constantly bombarded by negative thoughts, self-sabotage, and insecurity. Now more than ever, it’s important that authors spend time taking care of and loving their creative selves.
Unfortunately, many of the self-care articles for authors today focus solely on a writer’s physical well-being. And while we need to encourage authors to exercise, eat well, and have the proper ergonomic furniture, there are other self-care tactics that wordsmiths need to consider as well.
Namely, emotional ones.
5 Ways to Love Your Creative Self
With emotional state-of-mind being so important to a writer’s success (who can write if they are overwhelmed, off balance, and constantly derailing themself?), here are 5 things an author can do to love their creative self:
Don’t compare yourself to others. Comparison is the thief of joy. When we, as writers, compare ourselves, our work, or our efforts to others on the same journey, we can easily become discouraged with thoughts that don’t serve us well. Rather than compare, remember that someone who seems to be doing/accomplishing everything you want may simply be further ahead of you on the road to success. It doesn’t mean they are any better than you. What’s important is that you keep traveling the trail and know that you will arrive eventually.
Embrace the process. It can be easy to get caught up in the results of your efforts. A finished book. A contract with an agent or publisher. An award or best-selling status. However, don’t neglect the process and the changes in the person you’ve become to reap those rewards. Knowing that you’ve disciplined yourself to sit down and write so that you could complete a manuscript or that you worked on your craft diligently so an agent would notice you, means you’ve learned a lot about yourself and created habits to reach your goals. That in and of itself is truly the prize.
Give yourself grace. As writers we can be extremely hard on ourselves. We often beat ourselves up with imposter syndrome, criticize our work harshly and hold ourselves to unrealistic expectations. We must give ourselves grace as we work. We will not get the words out right on the first try. We will have to revise and edit our manuscripts multiple times. We may even have to delete scenes or change huge chunks of our writing. The good news is that it happens to everyone. So, give yourself grace and be gentle with yourself. If you can, it will go a long way to helping you on the journey.
Pursue other creative outlets. Sometimes a writer can get stuck and the words refuse to come. Rather than claim writer’s block and become distraught, find other creative outlets to enjoy and give yourself a break. Consider reading, drawing, painting, decorating, or anything else that might get the juices flowing in your brain. In doing so, you not only nurture yourself but you might find the ideas you need while creating another masterpiece.
Surround yourself with other authors. Writing can be a lonely undertaking. Hours spent by yourself tapping away on your computer keyboard or researching book material. But no author is an island and it’s important that authors surround themselves with other writers. Not only will you find others who can commiserate with your struggles but better than anyone else, they can cheer you on when you are struggling to get the story right. Seek out like-minded people who love what you do and stick to them like glue!
Writing isn’t easy. It requires practice, discipline, and dedication. But it also requires loving and caring for yourself along the way. When you do, you’ll find more joy on the journey than you ever thought possible.