Self Care for Writers and Illustrators

Yesterday I had a book manuscript due. I turned it in about 3:30 for the win!

In spite of this deadline, I attended a virtual yoga class. This was my first yoga class since I had occupational therapy for my wrist. Definitely a good idea and I will be doing more.

Writers and illustrators need to take care of our hands. We also spend a lot of time at our desks and drawing boards. This makes it even more vital that we get up and move. Just what you do in the way of motion is up to you.

I make a point of walking at least once most days. About half the time my husband and I walk around the neighborhood. The route and distance vary but he always sets a fast pace. If I’m not walking with him, I’m likely to be walking on the treadmill. I watch a lot of webinars on the treadmill. And documentaries. I just started taking a linguistics class and may well watch the videos for that while I’m walking.

What’s up with watching and walking? In spite of the fact that desk work is vital to my career, I’ve got the attention span of . . . a gnat? . . . a toddler who really needs a nap? . . . a restless writing? The reality is that I can pay attention a whole lot better if I’m knitting or crocheting or walking. This bothers some people but anyone will a similar issue will understand.

Watching and walking don’t make for the best workout. If that’s what I want I either walk with my husband or crank up the metal and pick up the pace.

In addition to working out in some way, it is also vital that you don’t spend all day sitting at your desk. You should get up and move every 20 to 30 minutes. When I’m rewriting on a hard copy like I was yesterday, this is really easy. I work with the print out in the dining room. When I’ve worked through one chapter, I bring it back in here to my desk and enter the changes. My husband is less than enthusiastic about this. He thinks I’d get more done if I would just sit. But I have sciatica and sitting for a long time aggravates it. Besides, movement is good.

The point is that you need to find something that works for you. But please do work in some movement. We want you to keep creating for a long time!