Let's face it, writers aren’t the best when it comes to self-care. We stretch ourselves thin competing with ourselves and people we have never even met, trying to write the perfect scene while our eyeballs sear like steak. We may think we're doing our due diligence. As the saying goes, writing is suffering... but that’s bullsh*t.
Stretching yourself thin won’t be good for you or your script. Trust me, it’ll show. Taking time off is just as necessary as hitting that page count. You may be asking yourself, What is self-care? Or Isn’t that just an excuse to be lazy? To answer the latter: F*CK NO!
And to the former, self-care looks different for everyone, but the common denominator in all of it is to do something FOR YOU. So, here are some suggestions that may help.
1.WATCH TV & FILMS JUST TO WATCH:
As screenwriters, it’s our gospel to dissect the sh*t out of stories so we can learn how to make our own magic. But watching TV and films for fun is just as important. You get to FEEL the story rather than trying to solve it like the algebra equations we learned in grade school that we’ve NEVER EVER USED. TV shows and films are made for the one reason we all write them. For an ESCAPE. Let yourself enjoy the story the way it was meant to be enjoyed. But, don’t think that I’m telling you to binge the latest Netflix series. I’m not letting you off that easy. You need a balance, which brings me to my next point.
2. SCHEDULE SCHEDULE SCHEDULE!:
Having a schedule is paramount not only for self-care but can also improve the quality of your writing. Just like writing an outline is for your baby, a schedule will be an outline for your day. When you dedicate a certain amount of time to your writing, you allow yourself to get into the zone when you face the page. But make sure in that time you put aside for your writing that you WRITE SOMETHING. A page full of messy action lines and awkward dialogue is better than facing that white a$$ page for the 5th day in a row.
I’m not telling you to train for the Olympics, but as writers, we sit on our a$$ allll dayyyyyy. That sh*t isn’t good for us. Step away from the bright screen and stretch for a bit; your characters aren’t going anywhere. Buy a kettlebell or dumbbell and keep it visible so the thought of I bought it, might as well use it will creep in. LOL. Exercising is not only necessary for your health but you’ll also have a clear mind when you get back to your baby.
4. GET A HOBBY:
And no, I am not talking about writing. Writing is a career and you should treat it as such. Try drawing, knitting, even picking up a controller and playing your kid's video game. Sh*t you paid for it; it's yours too! LOL. Just do something that allows you to have fun without criticizing yourself for how well you're doing it. As writers, we do that more than enough.
So the next time you feel that burn in your eyes or that tingling feeling in your legs, take a break for however long you need. You’ll thank yourself and so will your baby.
- Written by: Collin Shaw
Shannan E. Johnson, CEO