The Beginning of Writer Wellness
The idea for my book Writer Wellness: A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity (Headline Books, Inc., 2020) and workshop came to me when some of my critique partners asked how they could be my clones. They wanted to shadow me for a week to see what I did that led to my prolific publishing (over 500 articles and counting,) life as a homeschooling mom, and part-time hatha yoga teacher. Up to that point, I hadn’t done any self-examination of my processes, but when they asked, I stepped back and watched myself for a month while documenting my doings and beings in a journal. This article is a peek into what I learned.
First, please take out a pen and paper (or your phone or computer) and list five things you’ve done in the last thirty days to promote/support your own writing.
Now list five challenges or obstacles that you believe are standing in the way of accomplishing your writing goals.
Next, list five writing wishes or desires you want to come true.
Following the Writer Wellness plan will help you to always have five things on those lists. It will also allow you to maintain a level of health and creativity that some writers are missing.
Are you happy with your writing in general?
Are you happy with your health?
Do you ever notice a direct relationship between the quality of your writing and the quality of your life?
A physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy individual is by far a more productive, creative, and pleasant person. This is evidenced by the fact that many corporations have implemented programs to keep employees happy and healthy. Programs range from daycare centers in the workplace to personal trainers for every ten employees. A healthy, happy employee is more productive and misses less work, which is good for the bottom line.
As a writer, you are the employer and the employee. Happiness, productivity, and health have a definite impact on the caliber of writing you produce. It is in your best interest to do everything you can to stay healthy to support being the best writer you can be.
The premise of Writer Wellness is that creativity and productivity are crucially dependent upon an overall quality of life. This includes physical, mental, emotional, communal, and spiritual aspects.
The five key concepts of Writer Wellness are:
- PROPER NUTRITION
- CREATIVE PLAY
How did I decide these aspects were important? As I noted earlier, I took the time to observe my habits and journal about them. I discovered that I did almost all five things daily.
Where did they come from? I was raised in my mother’s dancing school. Before she retired after 52 years, she created all the choreography, kept the books, wrote the grants, typed the publicity announcements, directed rehearsals, and taught five ballet classes a week. Thanks to her example, the principles of physical fitness and eating right were pounded into me from an early age.
When I was fourteen, I began the Writer Wellness lifestyle, even though I hadn’t labeled it that yet. I got a “job” at the local newspaper writing a weekly column about my junior high school. I saw my name in print. I was hooked. From then on, I was a dancer and a writer.
I discovered yoga, meditation, and modern dance in college, and everything fell into place for me. Thirty years later, I journal almost daily (unless I’m working intensely on a writing project,) exercise five to six times a week, follow an eating plan and take supplements, meditate, and engage in creative noodling with art journaling, crafting, gardening, and scrapbooking. Now I teach other writers the five key concepts and encourage them to tweak the ideas until they find what works for them.
Review the lists of five things you made at the beginning of this article. If you had trouble coming up with five items, step back for a moment and assess why that may be. If you haven’t taken five actions to support your writing, is writing really that important to you? If you journal some, exercise regularly, relax or meditate a few minutes daily, eat right, and have some fun occasionally, the five key concepts of Writer Wellness easily represent five things to support your writing. The concepts work together to support your desires and keep you healthy enough to overcome the obstacles when they pop up. Five writing wishes are more easily achieved when you practice writer wellness because your perspective improves, and you gain a broader view of life.
The five things I’ve done for my writing in the last 30 days:
- Journaled almost every day
- Wrote a guest blog for another author
- Attended a webinar on copyright law
- Posted several new blogs on my website
- Wrote and sent a newsletter to my subscribers
Five challenges to my writing are:
- COVID-19 has negatively impacted my ability to do book signings
- There haven’t been many writing conferences to attend in-person
- Money isn’t coming in for workshops or editing like it used to
- Publishers are having supply chain problems (paper, binding, shipping)
- Agents are more difficult to acquire
My five writing wishes right now are:
- Sell the current manuscript circulating in the query pool
- Finish the research for the book I’m writing now
- For COVID-19 to be less of a deterrent to going out in public
- Get a few more clients for editing and book coaching
- Take a marketing course designed for authors
What’s on your lists?
Be well, write well.
All good things,
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