How Writers Can Show a Little Self-Love on Valentine’s Day

Filed in Finding & Following Your Voice by on February 5, 2018 12 Comments • views: 659

Valentine’s Day is about celebrating love in all its various forms.

I figure it’s time for writers to turn a little of that warmth back on themselves.

We spend a lot of time going through critiques, learning about our weaknesses, enumerating our flaws, dealing with less-than-awesome reviews, trying to do better, and feeling like we come up short.

I think we could all use just one day where we say, “Hey, I’m pretty good at this!”

What do you say? I’d love it if every writer reading this would show a little self-love in the comments below. Tell us what you love about your “writer self.” Maybe you excel at a craft-related skill (setting, dialogue, plot, characterization, etc.), or you have a great business acumen, or you’re super productive or creative, or whatever comes to mind.

What do you like about your writer self? Here’s your chance to share it. And don’t be surprised if it feels awkward. We’re not used to acknowledging the good stuff, and that can be dangerous, especially when the “bad” stuff starts piling up enough to be discouraging.

I’ll start—and trust me, this feels awkward. And difficult. Did I say awkward? Okay. What I like about my writer self: I’m persistent. I didn’t give up when I felt like it, and I felt like it many times over the years. But each time I got discouraged, I hung in there, and inevitably something came through for me.

Looking back now, I’m glad I stuck it out. I think it’s also one of the reasons I enjoy encouraging writers today. I know what it’s like, and I want to see others (you!) succeed.

Okay, your turn. Be brave, and let me know in the comments what you like about your writer self. (Please—I’d really like to know! And I know it will make you feel good.)

Meanwhile, I’ve got seven ways to show your writer self a little love this holiday.

1. Make a “praise collage.”

Gather together all the positive comments you’ve gotten on your writing and put them somewhere you can see them. This is super important because most of the time, we forget all about these—it’s the negative comments that tend to stick in our brains. Re-read your positive reviews and comments and I bet you’ll be surprised at what some of them say.

It’s way too easy to tilt the scales in favor of the negative. I’d suggest you go so far as to make copies of the positive comments, put them together in a collage, and hang it near your writing desk. You need reminders of the good things you’ve accomplished.

2. Get something new for your writing niche.

This doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive. Just treat yourself to something that’s totally “writerly.” Imagine you’re having a writing birthday—what would you get yourself? A new fancy pen? A motivating picture to hang on the wall? A special writer’s mug?

Maybe it’s time to finally get that writing chair you’ve had your eye on, or to update your office a bit. (Read more on that: “How to Boost Focus & Productivity with a Writing Space Makeover.”) You may enjoy a book of motivating quotes, a daily cartoon calendar, or the latest novel from one of your favorite writers.

I dare you to go totally self-indulgent on this one. Treat your writer self to something that will make you smile.

3. Give yourself a day to forget about your flaws.

Track your thoughts about writing for just a day, and you’ll probably find that you spend more time than you think focused on your flaws. I know my dialogue is weak. This setting isn’t working. Things are moving too slowly here. I don’t know if I’ll ever get this story where I want it to be.

You know how it goes. This Valentine’s Day, banish all the negative thoughts from your writing brain. Allow yourself to think about only the positive. I love the beginning of this story. I’m really enjoying working with NAME character. I’m really proud of myself for self-publishing my first book. Etc.

One more thing—when you hear yourself thinking a negative thought, stop and turn it around to a positive one instead.

4. Start a new self-care habit.

Most likely, you could use a little more self care, especially when it comes to your health. Use this day to add a new healthy habit to your life. Make it something small and easy. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Take the first 5-10 minutes of your day to meditate.
  • Make one small change in what you eat. Add a piece of fruit to your lunch, skip out on one sugary soda, add another vegetable to your dinner, or choose something healthy for a snack.
  • Add a period of exercise to your day. Even if you already work out, take an extra 10 minutes to take a walk, run up the stairs, jump rope, do some push-ups, or stretch your muscles.
  • Take 10 minutes to write in your journal.
  • Spend some quality time with your kids, friends, loved ones, and/or pets.
  • Listen to some music that you really enjoy.

5. Eliminate something that doesn’t serve you.

Look around at your life. Check your schedule, your surroundings, and your appointments. Most likely, you have at least one thing that doesn’t need to be there—one thing that drags you down instead of lifting you up. Maybe it’s clutter in your writing niche, or a weekly commitment you may no longer need to keep.

Is there something you could delegate or eliminate completely from your daily routine? What are you doing that’s not bringing you results? What would you like to change but haven’t been able to yet?

Or go super simple and just throw something away. Toss some old papers, files, or maybe some of those rejection letters. When we remove things from our lives that no longer serve us, we automatically gain some energy. Try it.

6. Schedule a writing-related trip…now.

Don’t let the year get away from you without investing in your own education. Yes, time away can cost money, it can be difficult to manage, and it can cause you extra work, but you’re committed to your writing, so you need to do this for yourself and your future.

Sign up for a writer’s or marketing conference, online workshop, or simply make reservations for a writer’s weekend away. Choose an event that will help you grow the most, and set it up by Valentine’s Day. You may be surprised how much you end up looking forward to it, and how much it will motivate you to keep writing.

7. Choose yourself.

This is the title of an excellent book by James Altucher, and it’s a great thing to do on Valentine’s Day and every day this year. Choose to do what you want to do. If you want to write more today, write. If you feel the urge to start a new project, do that. Read the books you want to read, and see the people you want to see. If you want to take a day off of writing and marketing, that’s okay too.

You can think this way in broader terms, too. If you were to choose yourself this year—choose what you really want where writing is concerned—what would you do? What action would you take next? How would you rearrange your daily schedule?

Allow this special day to open your heart and mind to the possibilities. A great quote from Altucher:

“Nobody can tell you what to do. No matter what they pay you. No matter what obligations you feel you owe them. Every second defines you. Be who you are, not who anyone else is, or who anyone else wants you to be.”

Okay, your turn—what do you like about your writer self?

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Comments (12)

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  1. Sharon Schnelle says:

    Writing gives me the opportunity to truly be myself. My characters are my second family; I watch them, I listen to them, and I chronicle their stories. The energy that surrounds me when I write is incredible and I love how writing enables me to soar high above the Earth and enter realms that no one else will ever know, unless I write about them.

  2. Dee says:

    …the one place I don’t beat myself up for being a perfectionist.

  3. Jane says:

    As a writer and a person, I like that a sense of joy and insistent curiosity are part of my life. Both may dim in difficult times, but they always glow again eventually. I like that I can trust that. And I also like that I cultivate perseverance and also resilience.

    • Colleen says:

      Like that, Jane. Yes, I’ve heard that the one thing a writer needs is curiosity. Love what you said about being able to trust it.

  4. Judy says:

    Characters do sometimes take on a life of their own. I’ve been surprised when a character takes the story in a direction I never imagined. I like the excitement that comes when I’ve created something from nothing. Watching someone laugh or get emotional about a character that only existed in my mind is a feeling like nothing else.

  5. I like my ability to immerse myself in a character and develop his or her voice. I suppose it’s a little like the experience an actor has, but I’m not inclined to get on a stage and try that in front of a live audience. I’d freeze for sure. 😀

  6. Lydia says:

    I love this post, Colleen. Thank you for sharing it. I think it’s incredibly easy for some of us to forget to show ourselves the same love we regularly give to others.

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