When you think about the business of writing, you probably don’t think about good self-care do you? Many people don’t. Yet, I would argue it is a critical piece of any good business plan. You won’t do yourself any good as an author if you’re not healthy. Making good business decisions require clear, well thought out decisions based on facts. Something most people cannot do when not feeling well. Have I sold you yet on making sure you keep yourself healthy as a smart business decision?
Good. The first piece is to make sure you’re covering the basics. Get enough sleep, eat reasonably healthy, and get some exercise. Yep. I get those nights where you’re in the groove and end up awake way too late writing. Pulling an all-nighter every once in a while is fine. Doing it on a regular basis will burn you out, get you sick, and throw off your writing schedule worse than not having stayed up like that. Eating healthy and exercise are just as important.
Stress management is the next piece. Okay. Now that you’re done laughing at that, stick with me. Writing is a never-ending of cycle of excitement and enjoyment as a project gets started alternating with the stress and insanity of revising, editing, and time leading up to the actual day the story is released. After breathing a little, the next project comes along and it all starts over again. I also know the writing itself can be a stress reliever, but it also brings its own stress. Make sure you’re taking breaks to do other enjoyable things. I can’t give you the answer to what to do as each person needs to find their own blend of stress relieving activities. Just make sure you do, or burnout is inevitable.
Third, take care of your relationships. I’ll duck now to avoid all the objects introverts are throwing at me for even suggesting interactions with people are necessary. They are, though. Human beings are social by nature. It is part of our biology and we cannot change it. Now, I am not suggesting everyone must spend inordinate amounts of time in the presence of others, but we do need at least some interaction. Find that healthy balance of taking time for the loved ones around you and spending time alone writing. If anything, think of these as opportunities to research social interactions for your next story. Your loved ones will thank me for it, and so will you when things get stressful.
Finally, ask questions. No one person will ever have all the answers. When authors first start out, the learning curve can seem almost impossible. I know it was for me, and still feels like it at times. Building connections with people who have these answers is critical to succeeding as an author. Find writing communities you connect with. Reach out to local writing groups. Connect with those who have started on this journey ahead of you. I know I would never have made it this far without the tremendous support I have received along the way. Whether it is here at Our Write Side or somewhere else, build those connections. You never know when they may give you an opportunity you would not have otherwise gotten.
I hope you see now why self-care is an important business decision, not just a good idea. I’m even convinced that good self-care can help address things like a lack of ideas or the dreaded writer’s block. Sleep, eat right, exercise, take care of your stress well, tend to relationships, and ask questions. Easy to say, but harder to do. Trust me, though, you’ll be better off for it in the long run as an author and as a person.