Writing as Self-Care

So, it’s official: The semester is finished! (*cue confetti canon*) Over the coming weeks, I plan to do some serious catching up on my reading and writing. The end of the semester is always stressful, and while I have always managed to get all my work done eventually, I let my writing fall by the wayside over the last month.

I was in this strange headspace where I felt anxious and guilty for working on projects that were not school related, but at the same time, not writing was making me equally anxious and guilty. Yet, because I had “real deadlines” attached to the school work, I forced myself to ignore the anxiety that came from not writing. In retrospect, I think this was entirely the wrong way to go about it because as soon as I went back to my drafting and editing, I felt a palpable relief. Writing is an essential part of my day, and I think it belittles my writing to act like it’s lower on my priority list than other things—namely school. 

Ideally, I’d organize my semester so that I didn’t feel so crunched for time during that final month, but realistically I’ll probably be faced with similar situations in the future. My hope is that I’ll remember to take better care of myself during that time—treat writing like I would exercise or eating proper meals (i.e. as an important part of my life)—because the truth is I’m so much saner when I write. Minus the times when I’m yelling at my characters, I’m as calm while writing as I am while doing yoga, and after writing, I’m as mentally sharp as I am after eating a healthy meal.

The point is that I shouldn’t treat writing like it’s “just a hobby” because it turns out that it’s actually one of the activities that keeps me healthy and happy. I don’t know if it became so critical only after I’d formed the habit of daily writing or if it was always like that and I’d simply failed to notice before. I suspect it’s the latter.

So, like I said, I’ll be spending a good portion of my upcoming free time reading and writing. But the trick will be to remember to stick with it even—especially—during the stressful times. When I feel like I can’t spare the time to write is probably when I need to do it the most.

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