Overcoming Writers Block With Self-Care
Writing is a process. It’s a process of creativity, productivity, and energy that some people find difficult to manage, while others find it comes easy to them. I know that some days when I’m freelancing, it comes easier than others, and some days, it’s challenging.
"One is never happy. If a writer is too happy with his writing, something is wrong with him. A real writer always feels as if he hasn't done enough. This is the reason he has the ambition to rewrite, to publish things, and so on. The bad writers are very happy with what they do. They always seem surprised about how good they are. I would say that a real writer sees that he missed a lot of opportunities." —Isaac Bashevis Singer
Self-care is important when you feel like you’re not up to that challenge, and all too often, writers don’t take the time to do that and restore their creative juices before trying to dive into something else, only furthering their frustrations and writer's block.
Now it may seem intuitive to take a break, relax, and stop writing for a while. But even that doesn’t always work. Sometimes more is needed. There have been days where I didn’t write at all for the sake of self-care, and then the next two to three days, all I did was write.
"There is no rule on how to write. Sometimes it comes easily and perfectly: sometimes it's like drilling rock and then blasting it out with charges." —Ernest Hemingway
There are many books, blogs, and other sources out there for self-care that people can turn to, but this is one that I want to speak of for writers in particular.
Writers, more likely than not, love to read. A lot of them see curling up with a book as self-care. Personally, I love to listen to books, so I’ll usually do chores or other things around the house, play games, or other activities while listening to books while practicing self-care. There’s also just writing for yourself and not for anyone else.
“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.” —Stephen King
Writing for yourself and no one else is a whole other writing level that can be done on your own time, your own space, and in your own way that has no one but you to be held accountable. Even if it’s opening a blog, and never publish that blog, have it there in the nether for you to speak your mind about things. This is self-care.
Let’s also talk about creative and effective writing to help with that writer's block and taking time for self-care. Sometimes we feel like we’re not very effective and that our creative juices are being stifled by those demanding more from us. Clients want things a specific way, and sometimes those things aren’t always what we want to write on, but that’s the job, and we do it well.
Ensuring that your writing, even when you’re writing for yourself, is cohesive, has a logical flow, clear organization, and focus will ensure that you’re getting out what you feel like getting out through those magical fingers. Think about who you’d have your reader be if, for example, you created that blog and opened it up to the public.
In this form, self-care is cathartic and something that many people don't think of when they're writing because they see writing as 'work.' Writing is an art form that can be work or pleasure. Perhaps if you see it only as work, you've lost that zeal for it you used to have, and it's time to reconnect to it for something more personal and full of meaning.
Finding that can be difficult when you don't know where to start, so here's a few ways to try to get those juices flowing again.
Write a short story, even if it's just for yourself. Don't even think about who you're writing it for. Just write it for yourself.
Write a blog post. Even if you don't publish it, write about something you're passionate about, put your voice out there on paper.
If you're someone who likes to write rather than type, sit down and write yourself a letter and explain why you've gone down the path you're going down with writing. What are your blocks? How can you overcome them?
If you're a list maker like I am, make a list of pro's and con's about writing and instead of letting those con's sit there staring you in the face, turn them into pro's and make them strengths instead.
Make sure you're taking time even outside of writing to practice self-care in the form of physical and mental wellbeing. Do other things for a while, come back to writing, refresh your mind, and don't bang your head against that proverbial brick wall trying to finish a project.
These are some things I do to help myself when I'm sitting and staring at a project that needs to get done and a deadline is looming. Yes, that deadline is there, but it's still going to be there when I get back practicing self-care, and I will get it done. I'll get it done feeling more relaxed, better about what I'm doing, and more confident that I'm putting out my best work.