3 Ways Writers Can Stay Creative and Protect Their Mental Health

Writers put a lot of pressure on themselves when it comes to producing. We’re told that successful writers produce at least a couple of novels a year, and in between our big projects, we should always be producing short stories, flash fiction, or blog posts to submit and publish.

Because of this, sometimes we lose sight of one of the most important reasons we write.

Writing is about self-expression, not just a way to further our careers. Being called to write is a gift given to us so we can explore our inner landscapes and create new worlds out of that internal terrain.

When we focus only on producing we forget that writing is our soul’s go-to guide when we need comfort and healing.

When we use a writing session to release emotion, interpret our needs, or acknowledge a hidden desire things can get messy. We won’t always like what comes out of us and we may even be embarrassed or angry at what ends up on the page. But the best way for a writer to vomit out all the pent-up stuff that needs to be aired is to write.

If you feel agitated, panicky, worried, angry, or wounded you are likely in need of healing.

There are three methods you can integrate into your regular writing practice to ensure you spend time using your writing gift to heal yourself, as much as you use it to entertain others.

Keeping a Daily Journal
This one sounds easy, but takes persistence and a commitment to yourself to keep up with it. Because it’s a journal, it should remain entirely private. So it doesn’t matter if every entry is a masterpiece, and word count is irrelevant. The important thing is that you write something every day to describe the emotions going on in your inner world and anything else affecting you outside of it.

Keeping a journal helps you chart what’s going on with you over time, as well as gives you a sacred writing place to use as a refuge from the world.

Free Writing Sessions
Grab a timer and set it for 20 minutes. Set the intention to let everything and anything that comes to mind have free reign on the paper. Maybe you’ll end up writing nonsense, or maybe you’ll just end up ranting at someone who really pissed you off this week. Whatever comes out, allow it to come with a spirit of self-acceptance and non-judgment.

Letting yourself pour everything out in one big flood can help you unclog the emotional gunk from your creative pipes and get to the good stuff.

Writing Poetry
Some poetry you want to show and submit, and some is purely for your eyes alone. Regardless of how it ends up, set the intention at the beginning that your poems will remain private to take the pressure off. You can even tell yourself that the goal of this exercise is to write really bad poetry to free yourself from all expectations.

Poetry demands we speak through images and rhythm. By using self-expression in this way we can approach our emotional world from another angle and unearth things long-buried and forgotten.

Every writer should be spending at least half an hour a week writing something that is just for them. It keeps us balanced and sane, and a mentally healthy writer will have the energy they need to steadily produce and publish.

And mental health and more energy are really the greatest gifts we can give ourselves.

If you enjoyed this article, you might want to check out:

Creative Intensity Doesn’t Have to Be a Curse

Discovering Yourself as a Writer

The Beast of Self-Judgment

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