by Edie Melson
Writing is hard work, physically, emotionally and spiritually.
We spend hours at a computer, neglecting exercise and proper posture. Beyond that, we pour our hearts and souls into the words we arrange into stories, articles, even blog posts. We spend time and money learning how to write, constantly improving our skills.
Then, when it seems like it couldn’t get any harder, we take a deep breath and share our words with the world. So often that world can be less than kind. To face the tumultuous life of writing, we have to take time to feed your writer’s soul.
Today I want to share some tips you can use-even if you’re doing NaNoWriMo-to nurture the writer within.
1. Come up with a schedule-complete with breaks-and stick to it. It doesn’t have to be a to-the-minute sort of thing. I promise myself a break every hour to hour-and-a-half. But breaking things into small bites reduces the stress.
2. Set goals, some small, some large. Keep them varied. It will keep you interested, successful and help you make forward progress, not matter what type of writing you’re doing.
3. Reward yourself when you meet a goal. What’s the point of a reaching a goal if you don’t get to celebrate? Goals give you something to shoot for and something to celebrate. It could be something as easy as 5 M & Ms when you write 500 words. But take time to give yourself positive feedback.
4. Surround yourself with cheerleaders. Enlist your family and friends in your dream. Share your struggles, share your goals, share your success. You’ll be richer in the end.
5. Take time to be a vegetable. For me, that’s mindless TV. I love Survivor, Castle and Big Bang Theory. For you, it may be time to thumb through a magazine or have a cup of coffee with a friend.
6. And on that note…eat right. I know, it’s become a cliché. But things are clichés for a reason-they’re usually true. Make sure your diet is well balanced. None of us can exist for days on end with nothing but junk food.
7. Don’t forget to exercise. I hate it like the plague (talk about a cliché). But I ALWAYS feel better when I take time for it. No only do I feel better physically, but I’m sharper mentally.
8. Join a writing community. Or if you already have one, take part in it. I’m part of My Book Therapy, and love hanging out on our Facebook page. I’m also part of several local groups. I don’t limit myself because as you may have noticed, I believe variety is the spice of life.
9. Give yourself permission to write junk. Sometimes I just have to write bad before I can write good. Knowing it’s going to happen makes it more palatable. And that’s the genius behind NaNoWriMo. Writing 50,000 words in a single month doesn’t leave you with time to agonize over editing.
10. Don’t neglect your spiritual life. None of us would be here without God. Make Him your priority and He’ll handle the rest.
These are my 10 tips for feeding my writer’s soul. What would you add to the list? Be sure to leave your thoughts below.
Edie Melson is the author of numerous books, as well as a freelance writer and editor. Her blog, The Write Conversation, reaches thousands each month. She’s the co-director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference and the Social Media Mentor at My Book Therapy. She’s also the Military Family Blogger at Guideposts.Com, Social Media Director for Southern Writers Magazine and the Senior Editor for NovelRocket.com. Connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.