Can Radical Self Care Make You A Better Writer?

Can Radical Self Care make you a better writer?

I always include practices in Radical Self Care when I teach a writing course. Why is that?

Many reasons, actually. Here are a few.

We live in a stress filled world. To stay balanced in this world, to maintain your physical health and a healthy state of mind, it’s essential to pay attention to how you care for your self.

One of the ways stress makes its presence known to us is when we feel overwhelmed. And it’s easy to feel overwhelmed fairly often, in today’s world. It’s hard enough to keep up with what you have to do to get through the week…let alone make time to write.

You know you want to write; you feel so much better when you do write. And yet, if you come to writing when you’re frazzled and fried, you won’t get very far.

Here’s the paradox: writing itself can be a form of self care. Yet in order to get to the page, you may need to practice other forms of self care.

Radical Self Care is not a one size fits all proposition. Nor is it something you figure out, once and for all. It’s a fluid, ever changing inquiry into your own deepest needs, at any– and every –given moment.

Why do I call it “Radical” Self Care?

According to the Third Edition of the American Heritage Dictionary, the word “radical” means 1. Arising from or going to a root or source. 2. Departing markedly from the usual or customary. 3. Favoring or effecting fundamental or revolutionary changes in current practices.

When you practice Radical Self Care, you get to the root of what you need. That kind of self care can lead to profound and fundamental changes in your life and in your writing.

When I include practices of Radical Self Care in a writing course, I give a combination of specific guidance and more open-ended questions, so that your own wisdom is always present in the process. Radical Self Care comes in many forms, and sometimes your own writing will be part of it. I’ll often ask a “soul-inquiry-question” to deepen your reflections. Writing also might be the tool by which you determine what form of radical self care is best for you in the moment.

Here’s a practice for you to try this week, if you find yourself feeling stressed, overwhelmed, tired or out of sorts. Give yourself 5-10 minutes of uninterrupted time for this process.

Here are your steps to follow:

1. Start by noticing precisely what you’re feeling. Try to find words to describe it, even if they only make sense to you.
2. Notice where the stress is showing up in your body. Bring your hand to rest on this part of your body (if you can easily reach it, if not, do this in your imagination) and take a few breaths to settle your awareness there. Bring your attention into this body part.
3. Then, bring your hand to rest on your heart. Take a few breaths as if you can breathe right in and out of your heart. Notice what your heart is feeling. Your heart may or may not speak to you in words right away, but pay close attention to the feelings that are present as you breathe with your hand on your heart.
4. Now, come to your writing. Ask your body, “What’s the root of what’s troubling you now? What do you most need to feel peaceful again?” (or to feel soothed, comforted, nourished…choose the word that’s best for you now, and find your own word if none of these feel right.)
5. Write whatever comes for 2-3 minutes. Let the writing come from your body. Trust what comes, even if it surprises you, or doesn’t seem to make sense immediately. Your body longs to speak to you, and will be grateful to you for listening.
6. See if you’ve gone deep enough in your writing. Does your soul have anything else to offer?
7. After you’ve written, read your writing, and see if there’s an action you need to take. Make a plan to take a step toward this action, within the next 24 hours.
8. Over the next few days, you may find that more insights will occur to you. Jot them down, so you remember them.
9. Be kind, gentle and curious throughout this process!!
10. To complete your inquiry into radical self care, express your gratitude. Give thanks for your ability to pause and listen to your self. Give thanks for the wisdom your body and soul offered you.

Radical Self Care doesn’t have to be complicated, but it can provide you with powerful tools to listen to your deepest needs. If you try this practice this week, I’d love to know how it goes!

If you’re looking for more support for your Writing and Radical Self Care, check out my 21 Day Soul Writing Journey: Come Home To Your Body. Every day, for 21 days, you’ll receive daily guidance in writing and radical self care. You can do this course in 15 minutes a day, and the exercises will be available forever, so if you miss a day, you can catch up at your own pace.

The course launches March 28. I’m offering this course in partnership with DailyOm, and thanks to their generous sliding scale, you can sign up for as little as $10.00.
Sign up to be on my early bird list and you’ll be eligible for some great bonuses when you register for the course!!

I hope you give yourself time this week to experiment with Radical Self Care. If you do, notice the effect it has on your writing and on your life!

Blessings on all the songs and stories of your soul,