Well, helloooooo to August! I'll skip over everything I feel like saying about holy heck, how is it already August!? and instead I'll just cut right to the chase:
This month is all about self-care, my friends.
And I've learned this about the writing life: You can't give what you don't have.
If you're out of words, out of thoughts, out of perspective, out of energy, it is mighty hard to write.
the rest of me is trying to get push through out of my vocabulary.
Instead, I'm really, really interested in the power of self-care for creatives and writers.
Whenever I could this summer, I spent time learning about new ways to work, and think, and live. I relied on some AH-MAZING books and resources for that, and they are collectively changing the way I think: about myself, about my writing, about how I want to live.
Oh, friends. It's been major.
So even though I'm worn out, I am SO EXCITED about what's ahead for me as I apply all this stuff, and, I of course, want to share it all with you! And I'm so excited for you, too, because I'm convinced that some of this stuff is truly life changing.
To get ready for all that goodness, let's release the whole idea that self-care is frivolous nonsense, that it's only for the touchy-feely people out there, and not for us serious writers.
Because—ouch—I used to feel that way.
I'd think, "That's nice that you're taking such great care of yourself, but I've got THINGS to do."
And then I kept falling apart and wondering why.
So this month, let's try a new paradigm.
Let's invest big in ourselves. Let's support our bodies and minds and emotions, so that we can show up for our writing with full creativity, total word power, and strong energy.
Sound good? Sound incredible, actually?
Awesome. High five.
Where do we begin?
With a nap.
I recently came across this excellent interview: Marie Forleo talking with Arianna Huffington about the power of sleep.
Two creative and entrepreneurial powerhouses, talking about getting enough quality sleep.
It's so easy to ignore our need to rest.
To shrug it off, and instead to scrounge around in the wee hours, searching for a few more things to check off the ol' to-do list.
Or, after a long, tough day, skipping sleep for a couple more episodes of a TV show, or finishing a movie, or, like last night, plunging through the first 80 pages of a new book. (Because I finished Bellfield Hall on time, and am now diving into something new! Yay for a resurrected reading habit!)
This self-care business, for me, largely means: closing the gap between what I know is good and truly best for me ... and how I behave with that information.
(As in: Stop ignoring it!!)
From now on, I want to actually do what is best. Instead of just knowing about it.
Haha. Revolutionary, right?!
And sleep is a big part of that.
I usually manage a 7ish-hour night, sometimes a bit less, and sometimes a bit more.
But I just don't feel rested.
And you know what? I'm wondering if I actually need nine hours.
I've been hearing about people who get nine hours of sleep, and how their creativity grows, and their ability to perform totally changes.
I remember reading about a writer (darn it, I thought it was Joanna Penn, but I can't find it on her website...) who claimed that getting nine hours of sleep a night was her secret weapon for both productivity and creativity.
It's a big deal!
So why am I not getting enough?
I want to try an experiment: I want to get nine hours of sleep a night for a week or two or maybe for all of August ... and just see what happens.
What about you? How are you doing in the whole rested category?
Getting enough sleep at night? Or do you have a quality nap habit that makes up for it?
Or, if all this talk of sleep feels impossible, what about just down time. Quiet, calm, unstructured moments that aren't instantly and thoughtlessly devoured by apps and social media.
Because that's vital too.
I'm realizing now that all summer (and for much of spring), I didn't have that kind of space where thoughts expand and develop and bloom. That beautiful down time.
We need that, you know?
It's critical that we can hear ourselves think, so that we catch the wonderful stuff our imaginations are churning up and handing out. So that we don't skip over an important course correction.
So that we can get the words right, for goodness' sake!
What would happen if every time we sat down at our desks, we felt really and truly well rested?
That's what I want to figure out. I'm just over feeling tired.
No more fighting a sluggish brain. No more eyes crossing because I didn't go to sleep on time.
Let's care enough about our work and our minds and working well in a non-destructive way, that we can actually treat our bodies the way they deserve.
And get enough time to rest.
How rested do you feel lately? What's the biggest way that you could add rest and recharging to your life?
And how do you think that might impact your ability to think, concentrate, write, and grow?
Mmmm. I have a feeling it's worth it, my friends.