Self-Care for Hard Stories

Writing isn't always easy.

I think most writers would say that is rarely easy to be a writer. The work of diving deep into the words, and then exploring what is found there, is not for the faint of heart or weak-willed. Writing takes an incredible amount of courage, and the willingness to be vulnerable.

When I'm digging into a particularly challenge piece of writing, there are some tools I use for keeping myself safe and healthy. I wanted to share them with you, in the hopes that they will be useful for pushing into the vulnerability and showing up with self-love and compassion.

Part One: Recognizing Your Personal Experience

Sit down with your journal/notebook and ponder the following two questions: How do I react to the hard stories the midst of writing? How do I react to the hard stories emotionally/physically?

Be really frank and honest with yourself here. The more insight you can gain to your personal experience/attitude, the more clear you can be with yourself in the next part of this week’s project. Take your time. Write about these multiple times about multiple occasions. Be raw.

Part Two: Create a Self-Care Plan for the Hard Stories

Being honest and clear with yourself in the first part of this project will allow you to create a self-care plan that is specifically going to assist you in the difficult writing times. Without the clarity and honesty, you will have a greater challenge sticking to your plan and following through on the ways to care for yourself and support yourself when the challenges arise.

Some things to consider when creating this self-care plan: To whom will you reach out when triggered/struggling? How will you practice self-care to be gentle with yourself? What do you need to heal the hurt places within you?

Be really detailed in your plan. Remember those fire safety plans from elementary school? The ones with the map of the building and the different colored lines for each route? Think along those lines. “If I’m triggered and feeling ___________, I’m going to call ____________. If I’m thinking about really painful things, I’m going to email _____________, and then take a hot bath.” Nothing is too silly/frivolous/crazy/strange to be included in your self-care plan. This is about you, and no one else.

Part Three: Write This on Your Wall or Desk

REMEMBER: facing the hard stories isn’t easy, and you NEVER have to face them alone.