When I made a serious commitment to writing about three years ago, I had good energy for creating but was very inefficient. A page a day was an accomplishment. Now my energy can be hit-and-miss but I get more done. I consider a thousand words my minimum daily output.
The moderation in energy hasn’t surprised me. I think it often comes with any long-term pursuit or job. However, it’s important to do what I can to keep the words coming and part of that is proper self-care.
Here’s some of the self-care that I find helps writing.
Write Most Days at the Same Time. This isn’t an original thought and I’ve blogged about it before. In the context of self-care, though, committing to creating at the same time on most days means I know I’ll accumulate a bunch of hours in the writer’s chair. This removes the stress of worrying whether I’m really honoring my commitment to writing.
Then Give the Writing a Rest. When I get up from the writer’s chair, I have to resist the temptation to brood the rest of the day over a writing problem. More often than not, the subconscious as well as the passage of time do the work. In a sense, I have to let the story come to me.
And Give Myself Good Rest. Proper sleep for self-care isn’t just about maintaining energy. It also gives the subconscious time to do its creative work. Many of my best ideas come in the first half hour of a day before things get too busy. Exercise and good meals also give energy and spark creativity.
Get Myself Out. Another temptation I have to resist is living in my head. There’s not a lot of extra energy there. By reconnecting me with the world, a walk in the park, a sunset or a visit to a coffee shop offers much more.
Get Myself Interacting. Good exchanges with caring people are another way to get me out of my head. With a few friends, I’ll talk about my writing. Mostly, though, I’m interested in the charge I get from new ideas.
Those self-care strategies should keep me writing a while longer. Perhaps you as well.
Copyright © 2015 Peter Fritze
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