Saturday, 9 February 2019

An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid to fail - Edwin Land

An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid to fail - Edwin Land

There has been quite a bit in the press and of course social media about wellbeing. Last year's mindfulness is this years self-love. Everyone is jumping on the wellbeing bandwagon. I am all for wellbeing and it's great to see the Society of Authors and the Crime Writers Association talking about this hot topic. It needs to be talked about to make people more aware of it. Mental health issues are so important especially when social media is making most of us introverts. On-line chat instead of having to call someone (for anything from ordering a takeaway to finding out about a computer from a store) means we have less social interaction. So many companies are now encouraging staff to work from home (which is great in my opinion) but again reducing the interaction we as humans need.

If you write full time you'll know that writing is a lonely profession. Of course there are writing groups and author events where you can socialise, chatting with your editor or publishing personnel, but there is little workplace banter because your workplace is most likely to be in your home. I work part-time and love the interaction I have with my colleagues. I still get my work done so it's a win-win situation. Writing is different though. I need silence to write.  I can't have interaction and office banter to do this and (pre-child) I realised that sometimes when I had a day or an evening to myself hours would pass without me uttering a word. So it's important that we talk about wellbeing.

It's not just the loneliness we writers need to be wary of. It's the juggling we have to do as well (our own doing, but nevertheless). Most writers have a full time or part time job and they may be a parent (I've recently found out just how difficult it is to manage a part time job, write a book and bring up a toddler).  So what do we writers do to look after our wellbeing?

I could write at length about crystal therapy, colour therapy, yoga, pranayama and meditation -– all things that I've tried and can honestly say they work, but this is a writing blog so I'll stick to that. Something I have started doing recently is free writing. I've blogged before about free writing as therapy, but since having my son my sleep patterns have been disturbed and sometimes I wake at 2:00am for no rhyme or reason and just can't get back to sleep. I start thinking of all sorts of problems, or not-problems which I turn into problems. To stop doing this I have started a journal before bed for free writing - If you don't know what free writing is, it's just putting pen to paper and writing anything that comes to mind without lifting you pen of the page. This can often help with writers block, but also for me it helps clear the mind. Sometimes my garbled writing turns into some focused thoughts, sometimes maybe even a plot idea, but generally it's garbled. I find it clears the mind and helps me sleep better.

I also make a list of all the things I need to do the following day and sometimes write out an energy log (three things that sapped my energy and three things that gave me energy that day- its a good way to see what you need to cut out and create more of in your life!) and I end it all with a thought for the day. I find this final thought always centres around being grateful. What I've learned in the last decade is that you need two things for happiness - A sense of purpose and gratitude. If I teach my son one thing, it will be that.

Whatever it is you do to look after your wellbeing make sure you do it regularly... we writers need to keep our energy levels up so we can do everything we need to do and then write, write, write!

This week I have just finished reading Lisa Jewell's Watching you. A great author and a great read. I gave it five stars!