Writing is hard. Not just in craft, but in practice. As writers, we must take great care of ourselves to produce our best work. While at first, the connection between our self-care and writing might not seem obvious, consider trying to show up to the page tired, hungry or aggravated with life. While conditions cannot and will not always be perfect for writing, we can take care of ourselves to promote the best environment for our writing.
As a wellness influencer and writer, I have been grateful that the practices I learned to take care of a chronic illness helped me in my writing practice. When I am well, I can write well. Here are a few of the best self-care habits that help in your writing practice.
Often the first thing we think when we read rest is “sleep.” While being well rested and getting the right sleep for your body is very important to your practice, so are other kinds of rest. Rest means doing things that fill you with joy and peace. It may mean a walk, reading a good book, coloring, or spending time with a good friend. When we are nourished, our entire life is positively impacted, including our writing. Don’t underestimate how that coffee date, taking a hike or reading that new novel might improve your writing practice.
2) Know when to walk away
When I have scheduled the time to write, I want to write and reach my goals. While I do believe showing up and working through resistance is essential, I have also found that surrender and knowing when to walk away is just as important. It might be as simple as a short walk or meditation when you are getting stuck before you come back to the page. It might mean a day away before you come back. Either way, one sure way to care for yourself is not only knowing when to show up but knowing when to walk away.
3) Share with a group
Writing groups are a powerful practice of accountability and sharing. One way to take great care of yourself is to build a community around you to share the highs and lows of writing with. There is magic in sharing your experience with another and realizing that your challenges and your goals are similar. Being witnessed is a gift that you can only do in community, and that powerful process improves your writing.
4) Move your body
We all know physical activity is vital for our overall health, so in general, moving is helpful. It is especially important to get up and move during long writing sessions. Just taking a short walk around the block can help unblock creative walls and inspire new, powerful words to come through.
5) Fill up on inspiration
Keeping a book or list of quotes that inspire you close by is a healthy way to encourage and empower our writing before, during or after. Books like, Turning Pro or The War of Art by Steven Pressfield remind us when resistance is trying to stop the creative flow that we can push through. It’s helpful to remember those that have gone before us and succeeded in the places we desire to go.
If I’ve learned anything from my health and writing, it is that habits take intentionality and practice. We can try a new thing at a time and practice making it a new routine. Taking care of ourselves is a practice. It is important to start small and be gentle. Just like writing it takes showing up, practicing, and making modifications when we need them. Taking care of ourselves is a life-long journey, just as I hope your writing process will be.
Sera Fiana is a healthcare consultant and wellness influencer on a mission to use her passion for health to inspire healthy change from the inside out. As a 10 year survivor of a rare, abdominal desmoid tumor, Sera uses her life’s story of transforming physically, emotionally and spiritually on her healing journey to challenge the way we honor our personal health. She is the founder of Healing U. Women’s Wellness, an educational community created to empower women who have experienced health challenges to transform their lives. Healing U. offers retreats, virtual programs and workshops.
Sera currently lives in Charlottesville, Virginia. Between passionately sharing her enthusiasm about wellness, you can find her sipping green tea while reading a good memoir, trying to write her own or hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains.