Between the spouse and the family, the friends, the dayjob, our characters and their stories, editing, rewriting, editing and rewriting again and again, writers really do attempt to juggle a lot more than we can handle. And sometimes we handle it better than we give ourselves credit for.
So it comes as no surprise when we sit back one day and think, “Who am I?” or “Where did I go?” Just think, if you were sit down and make a to-do list of everything you wanted to get done today, this week, this month, or this year, would an item on this list say, ‘Spend time with myself’?
And that’s okay. We’re selfless. We give, give, give without take, take, take. We stay up late at night writing or editing, we come home, clean house, cook, play with the kids/pets, spend time with our significant others, and give more than 100% at our dayjobs.
But what happens when we sit back and realize we don’t feel like ourselves anymore? Our writing suffers. Our families suffer. Our friends suffer.
So, how do you get back to *you*? How do you put it all aside and find yourself again so you’re writing life will flourish?
1. Realize that those moments of feeling like a super hero are starting to become few and far in between. You used to feel like that at least once a week, but now you’re lucky if you feel like that once a month.
2. Realize that in order for your writing to be the best it can possibly be, everything else in your life must in order, and you must feel content with the most important relationships in your life (i.e.: spouse, children, family, professional, etc.).
3. Realize why you began this writing journey to begin with. Because you wanted to make a difference. Because you had something to say. Because it weighed heavily on your heart. Because you felt the most free when you were writing.
4. Realize that the most important component in books is the author itself. Without the writer in good health, mentally and physically, there’d be no book at all.
Once you sit down and realize all four of these, then you do the following:
1. Vow to step away from the writing for an entire week. Read a good book, watch some TV or a few movies, catch up on sleep, etc.
2. Vow to step away from social media. Social media can be very overwhelming and take up quite a bit of your time. Uninstall the Twitter/Facebook apps from your phone if you have to. Just make sure you step away from it entirely – and this includes blogging.
3. Vow to relax. Whether reading is relaxing activity of choice, or taking a nice, long, hot bath, or both. Or maybe relaxing for you is taking a yoga class. Whatever works for you, vow to do it and do it almost every day that week.
4. Vow to spend quality time with those you love. Add in a few extra date nights, tack on an additional night out with friends, surprise your mom or dad with a weekend visit. However you spend time with your family, double or triple it that week.
5. Vow to sit completely still for at least 30 minutes a day. Don’t read or do anything related to books and writing. Simply lie on the bed and be alone with your thoughts.
6. Vow to allow yourself to do all of the above without consequence.
This is when you will start to feel like yourself. This is when you hear yourself say or think, “God, I feel so much more like myself.” This is when you’ll truly feel free.
After the break, re-enter the writer’s life with slow, childlike steps, and schedule time alone so you won't lose yourself again.
Have you ever felt as though you’re simply walking through life on auto-pilot? Did your writing or personal life suffer from it? How did you get yourself back?