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This year has been hard for me. I haven’t been feeling that creative, which is a problem because I write a blog that is supposed to be about crafts.
I haven’t wanted to write much, which is a problem because that’s how I make my living.
Creative slumps, dry spells, and writer’s block hit all of us from time to time. Knowing how to navigate those rough patches is essential for our own health and for the health of our careers. It’s important for writers to practice self-care.
Self-Care Guide For Writers
1. Do What You Have to Do
The first thing you should know is that, if you want to keep writing or creating as your job, you have to do whatever it takes to meet any established deadlines.
When people are counting on you, especially when they’re going to pay you, you have to deliver for them. No matter how painful it is for you in the moment, or how much you think the finished work stinks, get the job done.
2. Cut Yourself Some Slack
But this also gives you permission to let things slide when no one has asked you to do them.
I haven’t been blogging that much, and while that decreases my ad revenue, the only person who really notices is me.
There is a difference between what you feel like you have to or should do and what’s really essential. Now is a good time to figure out what that is, and eliminate – temporarily or permanently – those things that aren’t essential.
Sometimes having a block or resistance to doing something is a sign that it’s something we really don’t want to do, so we need to be willing to let those things go.
3. Take a Day
If you can take a little time away from your computer, do so. I know many of us work from home with kids at home, or work jobs outside of the home as well as having families and blogs, so this isn’t always easy to do.
But getting away from it all and doing something fun, or even doing nothing, can really help change your perspective a bit and make you feel refreshed when you get back.
Ideally, you’ll spend some of this time reading an inspiring book or making something just for fun that you won’t share with anyone. But mostly just do what you want to do and try not to think about what’s not being done in the meantime.
4. Do Little Things
When I don’t feel like making anything, I try to make something small. Doodle on the side of my to-do list, make a small sewing project, do a little painting or a collage. Completing something usually makes me feel a little better.
If writing is your main creative outlet, and you don’t feel like doing it, try writing a poem instead of an article. Or write a short blog post instead of the big roundup you had planned.
Go for a walk and take pictures. Share one on Instagram. Feel a sense of accomplishment for having done something.
Then try to do something else. Something a little bigger.
5. Take Time to Brainstorm
Sometimes when we don’t feel like writing it can still be a fertile time for ideas. Try writing down some things you might like to write about at some point in the future.
Don’t put pressure on yourself to tackle one of these right away – this is not a to-do list – but if something strikes you as fun, go do it now.
The fun is the thing that’s often missing, and that makes what we usually love feel like a slog. This could be a way to get the goodness back.
And even if it isn’t, when you start feeling the creative mojo again, you’ll have a bunch of ideas at the ready.
6. Write it Out
I know, writing is the thing you don’t want to do right now, right? But give it a try.
Open a notebook and just write.
Write about how frustrated you are.
Write about how blocked you feel and how you don’t want to do all the things you need to do or normally would want to do.
Don’t think too much. Just keep writing.
Eventually you may get to why you are feeling this way, even though you might not have been able to say it in words before you started writing.
This is powerful and important and can help you chart a way out.
Keep writing. Do it daily if you can. Keep the habit even when the dry spell is done.
7. Make a Plan
Hopefully each of these things has helped a little bit and you’re feeling ready to try getting back to your creative life.
It’s a good idea to make a plan for what your days will look like, to the extent you can control them, as you ease back into work, almost like starting to work out again after an injury.
Schedule out time for creating, for writing, for rest. Be willing to take on a little less work if you can for a little while. Make time and room for fun. Capture those moments on your blog, too, because goodness knows we all need to see what a healthy life looks like.
How do you take care of yourself during creative slumps or writer’s block? I’d love to hear your ideas.
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