Updated: Mar 14, 2020
This letter is for you — for your valiant efforts in the rotation of #PItchMad and #DVPit last year, pushing out another new novel during #NaNoWriMo, opening yourself up to beta readers and deep digs into agent rejections, prepping for #PitchWars next week, March 5 — you are a storyteller because you've decided to write...and complete...a story all of your own. Reward yourself!
Many people already know that I am an MG/YA fantasy #author who focuses on magical realism. I am also a #book #editor and #blog #ghostwriter. Ghostwriting this month on the topic of self-love has really inspired me to recreate one of my ghostwritten posts for the #writingcommunity.
With PitchWars next week, March 5, and (fortunately) finding myself in a position where I need to follow-up with agents, continue pitching, and even revise and resubmit to agent-requested material, self-love seems incredibly overlooked and important. For writers, we may not realize that sometimes our efforts aren't being utilized in the best way for our health. We may give away too much of our time and energy writing for others than we do writing for ourselves. We may be sacrificing our editing and querying process for our #books, screenplays, or blog to help clients or friends vent their thoughts or feelings. Perhaps you're overworking yourself at your paying job, staying late in the office or going to that social event you rather avoid instead of crediting yourself with that hour of self-love to unwind and set aside much-needed writing time for yourself. Or maybe you're trying to impress other creatives, coworkers, friends, or loved ones first instead of impressing the characters of your book with a new, completed chapter.
When you are always looking to give back to others, or provide your skills without expecting anything in return, it may feel good in the moment but it can also distract you from your own goals or needs to take care of yourself. In your writing, it is your responsibility to set aside time for yourself and not feel guilty by doing that. You need a safe space for inspiration, self-loathing, word vomiting, and teaching yourself how to become positive about progressing in the writing process when you inevitably reach points of struggle.
So how can you create a healthy, new habit of "writer self-love"? Here are some tips:
Create a writing calendar — dedicate a set amount of time each day to focus on your writing and let people around you know that you won't be interrupted during that time.
Be honest about any writing time or energy that you give to help others. Are you giving your time and energy away to impress someone? Will it motivate you with your own passion projects? Do you even have that time and energy to give? Are you giving enough to yourself?
Meet with a writers' group or reconnect with a new beta reader and share stories. Collaboration can be fun and motivating!
Research something for your story and learn to love research! Whether it is a new culture, geographical location, etymology, folklore, or historical event, research is probably the most important part of leveling up as an author and it will bring you great respect in your community if you are a #writer who focuses on creative spontaneity just as much as facts and quality work.
Be kind to yourself. Take a break from writing so you can write more! Go for that jog by the beach, spoil yourself at a Korean spa, sit down for an hour with tea and a new, exciting book to read, order in Thai food so you can curl up in old pajamas and watch that new #Netflix #movie. You may become much happier, and your stories will thank you for it since you're finally motivated to work again.
As a writer, you should always be networking and trying to branch out creatively. However, that doesn't mean you are always in the "it's good for your portfolio" stage. Understand that your skills are valuable and worth something special. Writers have an incredible well of power — to create compelling material from scratch — and not everyone can write, let alone write well! It is alright to set expectations for yourself and others to produce the best work possible. But be reasonable and forthright.
Email me your "writer self-love" tips! What have you done for yourself recently to enhance your passion project? I'll select a tip to share next month and together we can encourage each other to do more for ourselves and our stories.