Let me be real here, sometimes the life of a writer is enough to leave you belting out Whitney in your living room. (Yes I have done this) And it makes sense. You see writers spend a lot of time in their heads. That space can easily switch between the weapon and the sword. Depending on caffeine intake, sleep or who we have spoken to that week, it can be on fire or driving one quite mad. It takes a while to realise, the mind is the gift of our craft. It heavily relies on our emotional wellbeing to stay healthy and creative.
This is something I learned through the catalyst of experience. After a-few- rounds on the rollercoaster of staring at blank pages, losing the plot and hiding behind my own fears, I sighed into my wine glass and declared; something has got to give. Since then I have slowly developed a self-care system that gives my emotional and mental wellbeing the love and attention it deserves.
Emotions are a a vital part of our creative process. What makes wonderful writers is the ability to absorb everything. Oh yes we get all the feels, we can be rocked by sadness then elated with joy. We also have the emotional courage to tap into our personal experiences. That make us feel naked on the page, as we dare to explore the darkness and the light. So, it’s vital to make sure we are topping up enough positive emotion to stop us feeling depleted. And just as important to release what doesn’t serve us. Contrary to the tired opinion great writer’s have to be depressed, alcoholics, I am proof writing and happiness are not mutually exclusive. Your emotions baby, are a key to unlocking your creativity.
Here are some of the ways I nurture mine to keep myself on the safe side of bonkers…
- Feel the burn
First thing I do when I roll out of bed? Put on my trainers and get my daily fix of endorphins. Bike, run, yoga, as long as my body’s moving it does the trick and gets my creative juices flowing.
- Respect my writing routine
When I write has not changed since I started, my best hours are nine- eleven. I have learned to trust that turning up and expressing my best for this time is enough, pushing myself harder is never productive. In fact, it ends up taking more than it gives.
- Treat myself regularly
Fresh nails, ice cream, a massage or a long stroll around the park. This girl works for treats and she’s not ashamed to say it. Having something to look forward to is the best way to motivate me to reach those daily word-counts and I highly recommend the carrot over the stick approach.
- Make time for small talk
Oh, I love a good natter about the weather, the lady at the supermarket that took the last banana’s, that so and so has a new girlfriend or what my Dad’s having for dinner. Writing gets so deep, a good dose of small talk is the perfect antedote.
- Connect, rant and work with other writers
This is essential for my sanity. There is nothing like being around those that are on the same page as you, if you pardon the pun. That understand your passion and dilemma’s as they feel and experience the very same ones. Making time for each other should be compulsory in every profession, especially writing.
- Nurture my creative cycle
I have learned that amazing writing doesn’t just flow out of my fingers 24/7. That the creative cycle is a process that requires charging, releasing and restoring. Accepting writing as being more dynamic than word counts and practical tools has been a big wake up call. For me its physical, spiritual, mental and oh so emotional.
- Ask for support
We don’t have to climb the mountain alone, as a writing coach I welcome any writer that would like my support in achieving their goals. As a writer sometimes to ask for that support myself, and that’s perfectly ok.
- Sleep well & eat well
Eight hours and I am an angel, below five and approach with caution. Good foods keep me bouncy and fresh, processed rubbish leaves me feeling exactly that.
- Laugh it off
As at the end of the day, there is no greater joy in life than a good belly laugh.
- Stay curious
This has and will always be my mantra. It is my relentless curiosity that led me to be writer and to keep colliding life with words. For what could be worse than living with an untold story?
So, friends there you have my essentials. Writing is my greatest pleasure, though hands up it can be incredibly challenging sometimes. It asks us to visit some places that require emotional courage to be vulnerable and honest in a way that’s easier to avoid of paper. Wandering around in the darkness of tricky emotions and experiences makes it even more important to be able to guide your way back to the light. Take this as a gentle nudge dear reader, to take your emotional-wellbeing as seriously as Whitney looked after her vocals, and let the pen be your microphone.
Happy writing x