When February 14th rolls around, it’s a reminder to let certain people know that we love and cherish them. So, we buy chocolate, flowers, or go for a night out. Maybe we give the gift of time and make a favorite meal or dessert.
In reality, most of us don’t need a special day to show our love for the people in our lives.
But we do need a reminder to show love for the person we tend to forget about: OURSELVES.
Speaking of the L word, many of you know Becca and I gave our hearts to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs long ago. We use it all the time to teach writers how to build stronger characters, arcs, and how to add meaningful conflict and stakes.
Well, if there were a hierarchy for a writer’s life, it might look something like this:
In other words…YOU always come last.
So this year, think about how to put yourself first.
Be your own Valentine!
Start with some meaningful gifts:
1) Give yourself the gift of space.
We all live busy lives and can end up trapped within responsibilities and routines. We’re used to taking every spare moment and filling it with stuff that must be done – errands, fixing things, appointments. When do we have time to reflect on what we need, what we want to see for ourselves, and what will bring us more happiness and fulfillment?
So…back away from the to-do list and give yourself some space to think and reflect. We only get one kick at the can of life (unless reincarnation is a thing), so go for a walk in the park, take yourself on a picnic, or fill the bathtub with suds and lock the door. Turn your thinker to what small changes you can make to move toward a happier and more balanced you.
2) Give yourself the gift of time.
The Writer’s Pyramid shows how everything else tends to come first. After all, we love the people around us and want to make sure their needs are taken care of. But the constant merry-go-round of work, driving everywhere for school and activities, and all the other life stuff doesn’t leave us a lot for writing and other fulfilling goals.
So…be a little selfish with your time this February. Putting your needs and interests first for once doesn’t make you a bad person. Pausing things that can wait so you can make room for your writing and yourself is a healthy habit and teaches us to make choices about what’s really important. Plus, when you have more time for yourself and things personal to you, you’ll be happier and more energized.
3) Give yourself the gift of escape.
Forgive me, Stephen King, for I have sinned: I have become so busy I barely have time to read anymore. In fact, I may have moved that stack of books I bought out of sight so I wouldn’t feel guilty about what I wasn’t doing…reading.
If this sounds familiar, it’s okay. You aren’t alone. A busy life means reading fiction can end up on the back burner. But remember, we write because we love stories and want readers to escape into our realities. Reading is key to furthering our career and keeping our creative well filled.
So…let’s escape, too, and go on a book date. Pick up that trilogy you’ve been eyeing. Buy yourself your favorite sweets, a new flavor of tea, or whatever will help you unplug from everything and focus on the fictional realm. Give yourself permission to put everything else on hold and fall into a story world.
4) Give yourself the gift of help.
Writing is hard work and requires passion, perseverance, and grit. It can seem like we’re climbing a mountain that only gets higher as we learn what strong writing looks like and how to get our own story craft to that level. But while there’s much to learn, we also have a writing community filled with experts to help!
So…put resources in your toolkit that can help carry the load. In fact, we created a giant i need help with… section on our home page so you’ll be able to get the help you need no matter what the topic. Click the image link and scroll down the page!
And did you know…
Many writers associate us with our thesaurus books, but we are also the creators of One Stop for Writers, a treasure chest of storytelling goodness.
One Stop for Writers has everything you need to build standout characters, fresh plots and stunning worlds. It also guides you step by step as you plan, write and revise.
And if you are a fan of our books like the Emotion Thesaurus, you might be interested to know an even larger THESAURUS database is at the site. So come check it out sometime. We have a 2-week free trial.
Or, if you’re ready to put this powerful tool in your writing kit, be our Valentine and save 25% on any plan with this one-time discount code:
To redeem this 25% discount:
2) Go to Account >> My Subscription and choose your plan
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4) Enter your payment details, click the terms box, & hit subscribe
5) Give yourself the gift of grace.
Above all else, we want to see you get your books in the hands of readers and realize your writing dreams. Fulfillment is fuel, and when we achieve meaningful goals, we’re happier, more balanced, and optimistic. But writing a strong story and publishing it takes time, especially when we have a full life and other responsibilities.
So…take a moment to remind yourself that this isn’t a race, and you’re not competing with anyone. Publishing a book and having a successful career of doing what you love is about putting one foot in front of the other. Go at the speed that is right for you, not one that might lead to burnout. Be kind to yourself and remember: YOU’VE GOT THIS!
6) Finally, how about the gift of sleep?
Hit snooze more often, or sneak in a nap or two. The world will not break apart if you rest more, I promise!
How are you taking care of yourself? Let us know in the comments!
Angela is a writing coach, international speaker, and bestselling author who loves to travel, teach, empower writers, and pay-it-forward. She also is a founder of One Stop For Writers, a portal to powerful, innovative tools to help writers elevate their storytelling.