The Ultimate Writer Self-Care Checklist

Image by Victoria_Borodinova from Pixabay

Writing tends to be a pretty lonely and thankless job. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have value, and it certainly doesn’t mean that you can’t take care of yourself so that everything you write has serious oomph. That’s especially the case when you’re writing about really tough stuff or your scene has you in an emotional puddle. Here are some of the best things you can do–aside from the typical nap or trip to the gym/spa–to give yourself a little love and get the words flowing.

1. Set a Pomodoro timer. When it goes off, get up and stretch or walk around.
2. Read a book you want to read, not one you feel you’re supposed to read.
3. Reward yourself after meeting a writing goal with one inexpensive item that will improve your writing output or enjoyment, such as the Pro version of a writing program or a nice pen. OR choose something entirely unrelated to writing as a reminder you are more than just what you put on the page or the number of copies you sell.
4. Join a writer’s group (in person or online) to make sure you have feedback and support.
5. Keep yummy nom noms near your desk to fuel your writing sessions.
6. Declutter your workspace to help you focus. Better yet, declutter your entire house so you spend less time cleaning and have more time to create.
7. Turn to social media with purpose. Instead of comparing yourself to others on your favorite networks (seriously, it’s nice they got an agent, and all, but…but… 😭), celebrate with them so they will feel comfortable celebrating your wins with you later with genuine joy (and yes, those wins WILL happen).
8. Schedule a writing-free day so you can go experience the world.
9. Destroy imposter syndrome and advocate for your craft by using the “writer” label when you engage with others or on your profiles.
10. Set up automatic backup systems based in the cloud so you never lose a word, can work across devices, and have the option of working wherever you are.
11. Take time to enjoy and get inspired by the creative works of others, whether that’s going to a museum, checking out awesome Youtube videos, or reading about the latest research breakthroughs. Remember that there are lots of creatives in the world and that you don’t have to carry it all.
12. Get a manicure or wrap your hands in a warm heating pad for a while.
13. Temporarily change the height of your desk or chair.
14. Give your hands a break by using voice-to-text programs to create your next draft. The practice speaking also will make you more confident sharing your ideas in podcasts, videos, pitches, or presentations.
15. Create playlists that can get you in the mood you need for specific scenes, or alternately, get you back into real life.
16. Write somewhere you usually don’t.
17. Use a program like RescueTime to track your habits and limit where you go when you’re on your devices. Analyze how you really use your time with those programs so that you are realistic when setting your writing goals.
18. Clarify your boundaries with others and yourself so that people don’t infringe on your plans to write, and so you don’t feel unnecessary guilt and stress.
19. Let yourself write in a genre or style you don’t normally use.
20. Keep a notebook–or even a Google Doc–ready specifically so you can jot down other great ideas you have when writing other things.
21. Reread your previous work and pick out your favorite phrase, sentence, or word. Make a note, voice audio, video, or other media about why you like it.
22. Cosplay your current MC or writing period.