4 Self-Care Tips for Writers
Updated: Nov 5, 2021
When we think of self-care we think about general practices, But what about specific self-care tips for writers?
As an avid writer in both my personal and professional life, I know what it's like to juggle a lot of writing tasks. It can get overwhelming and then burn-out sets in quickly and a thing you once loved to do for fun because something you dread doing every single day.
When you work in a creative industry, you come upon unique challenges and setbacks in your workflow. There is a lot of science behind writing, as professional writers know, but there will always be that spark of creativity and word ingenuity that's necessary for getting the job done right. Putting for that type of creative energy all the time can get exhausting after a while.
The primary way to prevent this writer's block and burn-out is to diligently practice self-care tips specifically designed for writers. That's why I've brought together all the self-care tips I use to help my fellow writers' lives be a little easier and a little more stress-free.
Tip #1: Join Groups for Writers
Building a support network for yourself is the foundation of any good self-care lifestyle. People need people and having like-minded people to lean on who can understand your struggles and endeavors helps a lot.
There are a million different writing groups out there—whether online, in-person, local, international, casual, or professional. Writing groups also come with different purposes like writing together, sharing things about writing, or just general writing support.
You can find writing groups on Facebook, Discord, Reddit, or in your local communities. Research the writing clubs and groups available to you and find the ones that will provide the help, support, and network you're looking for as a writer.
Tip #2: Go to Events for Writers
You can find all kinds of events, conferences, and meetups created for writers. These events can help you feel connected, keep you up to date on the writing world, inspire you in your writing efforts, and teach you new things.
Writing events are a great opportunity to advance your career as a writer as well. You can meet people who work in your industry, network and connect with those people, gain forward momentum in your career, find new opportunities, and build a support network of like-minded people who do similar work and have similar passions as you.
Tip #3: Take Care of Your Body
Writing might seem like a purely mental activity but it's so much more than that. Avid writers know that the activity of writing quickly becomes a physical endeavor once headaches, neck cramps, and wrist pain start to take over.
There are physical things you should do to take care of your body as a writer. Sitting at a desk, reading, looking at screens, typing, or writing by hand can all take a very real physical toll on a writer after a while.
Yes, writing is a very mental exercise, but don't forget to look out for your body as well. Your writing will thank you for it. The more comfortable you are the more your brain can freely focus on the writing tasks at hand. Instead of your brain getting interrupted all the time with aches, pains, and discomforts, you'll be able to remain in that mental writing zone without disruption.
Physical Self-Care Tips for Writers:
Keep healthy writing snacks at your desk or in your office. I like to use trail mix.
Take regular stretching breaks or small walks to maintain good blood circulation. I like to set a small alarm to remind me to get up and stretch or go outside and walk around for a little bit.
Manage and prevent headaches. Writing, reading, and screens can cause headaches. I like to wear blue-light filter reading glasses and take regular screen breaks throughout the day. You can also turn the brightness on your computer down or turn the night mode, built-in blue-light filter on your computer up. I also get a lot of tension headaches from concentrating too hard, so I like to use a special ice-pack hat or migraine stick to keep my head muscles calm and relaxed.
Get enough sleep. Do whatever you need to do to get your body the quality rest it needs. I promise your writing brain will work so much better once you're fully rested.
Feed yourself. Your writing brain and your body both need food throughout the day. Don't let yourself get so caught up in the flow of writing that you forget to feed yourself sufficiently throughout the day. Stopping to make yourself some healthy food is also a great opportunity for a screen break.
Take full advantage of voice-to-text technology. This can rest your hands, help you brainstorm-write through writer's block more easily, and give you a chance to walk and talk while still getting things done.
Transform your writing space into an ergonomic setup. Get an ergonomic keyboard, wrist rest, chair, lumbar support, footrests, and make sure your chair and desk are at the right height. Learning more about ergonomic working setups can make a world of difference in your writing comfort and thus productivity.
Stay hydrated. I like to keep a designated water bottle at my desk at all times. Mine is insulated and comes with a straw so I can easily sip my ice water all the workday long.
Tip #4: Take Care of Your Mind
As we all know, writing is a very mental activity. It takes a lot of creativity and general brain power to write often and to write well. Taking care of your mental health is very important in general and for your writing.
Personally, I have found that my writing brain goes through cycles that I need to work with instead of against in order to write well and avoid things like writer's block and burnout.
I do this by recognizing when my writing brain is ready to write and when it needs to do other things instead. For example, if I sit down for a writing day and I just cannot bring myself to write a single word, I try doing some of the following things instead:
Writing Prep Self-Care Tasks:
Read writing blogs like Grammarly or Medium.
Write in my journal.
Use a fun writing prompt.
Work on my characters.
Work on scene and plot brainstorming and outlining.
Research a topic related to what I'm writing about and take notes.
Listen to a writing podcast and take notes.
Take a typing test to see how fast my typing is.
Do some other organizing and scheduling.
Draw your characters or the world in your story.
Outline the story or article on a piece of paper to get a better feel for the content.
Do more outlining work.
Write with bullet points and no full sentences.
Do some other reading. Read the genre you're writing in or read a book on writing.
Take a grammar quiz to test your knowledge.
Sometimes doing other tasks that are still writing-related can help your brain get into the right head-space for writing.
In order to easily get into the groove of things, it helps to understand your own process as a writer. Sit down and outline your entire routine. Break up every task into smaller tasks so your goals feel more reachable.
For example, my writing process for articles looks something like this:
Get the keywords and keyword phrases for the article
Research the topic and take notes
Make a skeleton outline of the headings and information the article will go over
Write a very badly written article
Go back and edit the article until it sounds great
With this writing routine I can get a lot done because instead of writing a perfect article from scratch on the first try, I can focus on creating a rough draft that can then be edited to perfection.
Remember: Editing is easier than writing.
Write with the fact that you're going to go back and edit all of this later in mind. It will take a lot of unnecessary pressure off of you and copyediting should be a critical part of your writing routine anyway.
Writers are wonderful, hard-working, inspired people. You deserve to work in a way that helps rather than hinders your best writing. Remember these self-care tips for writers and watch your writing get better because of it.