Monday, June 29, 2020

Digital Self Care for Writers


by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

The world has changed.

And the process has been exhausting. 

Even when we come out the other side of this pandemic, life is going to look very different. I’m holding tight to the hope that it’s going to be better. But it’s hard for me to equate different and better because I’m not a fan of change. 

But one thing I have learned is this:

We must learn to balance our digital lives as carefully as we balance our physical ones.

My natural tendency has always been all or nothing. I go and go and go . . . and then I drop. Not really the healthiest way to do life. And this pandemic has given me the excuse I needed to revert to type. 

But now I'm exhausted. And I'm once again reminded that it’s really hard to get water from a dry well.

So now I'm going back to the lessons I've learned in recent years and I'm going to share them with you.

Here are some of the things that work for me:
  • Weekends off are now the norm, NOT the exception. I just function best on Monday, if I have Saturday and Sunday for rest and relaxation. That means little or no time on the computer on those days. I’ve learned that if it’s urgent I’ll get a text or a phone call. Everything else can wait. One other thing I’ve learned by taking weekends off—if I don’t, pretty soon EVERY day feels like Monday.
  • Learn to limit digital meetings. It's tempting to schedule meeting after meeting to try to be productive. But online meetings are exhausting. They take a tole on us physically too. Zoom exhaustion is a real thing right now. 
  • Families come first. My good friend, Lynn Huggins Blackburn said it best. “Sometimes writers don’t write—they bake cookies.” I wouldn’t trade the years I had as mommy to three growing boys. No best-selling book in the world would have been worth passing up that time. The same comes with hanging out with my parents now. Time is limited, and I try to never forget that.
  • Be aware of the pressure right now and make your own decisions. There is a lot going on in the world and we all feel the need to make a positive impact. But we need to weigh our options and decide how we want jump in and not just cave into outside pressure. 
  • Relationships matter, and beyond that, they need nurturing to survive. This goes beyond the obvious family relationships. I’m talking about friendships here. As I said early, the world has changed. But that's no excuse to isolate. I may have to work harder, but it's still important to spend time with the people I care about, I show them they are valued. 
  • Field trips are time well spent. I used to visit museums and bookstores, now I take long walks and search for places to spread my photography wings. Take time to explore the cool places nearby, you won’t regret it, I promise!
  • It’s okay (even encouraged) to have hobbies that have NOTHING to do with writing and/or reading. Many of you know I love to take pictures. I also love to do crafty things like knit and journal. Beyond that, I have a group of craft-minded women that I meet with occasionally. We sit together and work on projects and creativity seems to just hang in the room. And none of these women are writers. But I always come away with a renewed enthusiasm for writing.
  • Be gentle with yourself. I've been irritated with myself lately because I can't seem to control some of my emotions. I'm more prone to anger, tears, hopelessness, and over the top joy. I never know what's going to set me off and the lack of control frustrates me. 
  • Seek time apart with God. Right now so much of my daily schedule is in shreds. My sleep habits, eating habits, and even my regular time with God. But now more than ever I need regular time with God.  
Now it's your turn. What are you doing right now to take care of yourself digitally? Share your tips for renewing and relaxing in the comments section below. Who knows, some day we may once again be able to visit a museum together and have a cup of coffee!

Don’t forget to join the conversation!
Blessings,
Edie 

TWEETABLES 
Digital Self Care for Writers - @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Edie Melson is a woman of faith with ink-stained fingers observing life through the lens of her camera. No matter whether she’s talking to writers, entrepreneurs, or readers, her first advice is always “Find your voice, live your story.” As an author, blogger, and speaker she’s encouraged and challenged audiences across the country and around the world. Her numerous books reflect her passion to help others develop the strength of their God-given gifts and apply them to their lives.Connect with her on her website, through Facebook, Twitter and on Instagram

12 comments:

  1. Edie, thank you for these wonderful reminders. Have a blessed week! :-)

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    1. Melissa, thank you for stopping by! Blessings, E

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  2. Amen Ms. Edie. Our lives are much more than writing, blogging, or posting. It is everything we do outside of these tasks that enrich and feed our writing. God's blessings for these wonderful reminders ma'am.

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  3. These are all wise and wonderful pieces of advice, Edie. I'm a six-day writer, and I was beginning to burn out. Especially without the friend time I was accustomed to getting. I finally realized that I had been spending the first hour of the day reading horrific headlines of doom and gloom. No wonder I was losing hope!! I started working my way through the Psalms every first hour of the day. It transformed me--as only God's Word can do. Now I know that I NEED that time with the Lord--or everything I write or teach will suffer in quality. Thank you for giving me "permission" to take time off. Writing can consume us if we let it.

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  4. Hi Edie, I'm surprised if not somewhat relieved to see that you've had some of the same feelings I've had. I've been frustrated, sad, tired, confused, tried to write but my muse went on vacation without me, felt guilty for not being more productive with less appointments to keep. I want to plan because that's what I do, but feel hopeless about my lack of control to make those plans come to fruition. My daily quiet time has led to random journaling but doesn't feel deep enough. I see my husband more than ever these days, but miss him when he's not home, perhaps because he's the most constant thing in my life right now. I feel pressure from outside to right the wrongs or fix the problems, but I can't and feel ineffective in the grand scheme of things. How can my novel help the world? It is difficult for me not to be hard on myself because I'm an achiever, but right now don't think I'm achieving anything. Now, more than ever, I need to spend more time with God because He is the only person than can truly make a difference. Thank you for your transparency.

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    1. Marilyn,
      I just subscribed to Edie's posts here, and I don't face the pressures you do, but after I read your comment a Scripture verse came to me. I'm sure it's one you've heard of, but it's the one I thought of: Galatians 6:9 "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." (KJV) I'm sure the Lord gave that to Paul to write, knowing this season would come.

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  5. Yes to everything you wrote today! Thank you, Edie.
    Peace and grace,
    Tammy

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  6. Words that soothe the bare nerves I have, exposed by constant striving to do more.

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  7. Thank you for your great words, Edie - such good advice. Thanks for sharing.

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  8. Thanks for keeping it real, Edie. Agree that it’s hard to keep focused and so many of those points are spot on.
    Not sure why, but happy to report that after spending so much of April scrolling social media it has become much easier to ignore or put down than ever before. Blessed peace! Lol :)

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  9. These are such timely reminders, Edie! I especially love field trips to art museums, too, and I also love long walks! Seeing God's hand in nature and art rejuvenates me! And thank you for saying you take weekends off from your computer. I definitely try to on Sundays, but I think you're right that Saturday should be added whenever possible!

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