Wellbeing tips for writers and small business owners… if you want to be productive, creative, and keep growing.
You’ll know if you’re a writer and you’re running on empty because there are oodles of warning signs.
As a writer or home-based entrepreneur, we can get so bogged down in our work tunnels and deadlines that we lose our grip on reality. We neglect ourselves. We skip lunch and we drink too much coffee. We forfeit precious sleeping time. We run on a constant supply of adrenaline, biscuits and caffeine, and God help anyone who gets in our way.
But working like this takes its toll.
I’ve been there.
I founded my business in 2013, and after about 18 months of sheer slog, intensive juggling, and trying to simultaneously show up as Happy Michelle in the real world, I got a big, fat reality check. I should have seen it coming but everything was new to me, and I didn’t know any better.
I worked weekends, and most evenings after dinner, leaving hubby with the clearing up and bedtime duties (two children, aged 9 and 11). Family time was slotted in when I was riddled with guilt or the children would blu-tack their ‘Closed til Monday’ sign to my office door, and eek me out chuntering all the way. Early morning starts meant I could fit in an hour’s writing time before the children got up for school, just to fit everything in, and I was constantly scampering around my hamster wheel.
Why did I work so hard?
Well, my worst nightmare was to have to give up my writing and this business – that I already loved – and go back to working for someone again. I needed to be here for my children first and foremost, but I also wanted to create a living for my family by doing something that I’m passionate about.
But I went about it all the wrong way. You see, I thought the only way to do make my business successful, and get my writing reputation rippling around the online world, was through sheer hard work.
And it wasn’t that I was workshy.
I’ve always been a grafter.
But this was completely wrong.
The tell-tale signs that things were spiralling the wrong way were pretty basic really. Whenever I stopped working (Christmas and summer holiday breaks etc) I’d be ill. But not just with a cold or a bug. I’d get some kind of virus that meant I couldn’t even get out of bed. This happened three times in a year and it got a bit scary.
I started making mistakes, disliking my business, resenting my clients (my fault completely for charging them too little) and my business seemed to be all I could think about. I was grumpy, irritable, and forgetful. And when I started crying for no reason at all, it brought up all those post-natal nightmares, and I wasn’t going back there again. No way. So I slowed things down and started making a few other changes.
Wellbeing Tips for Writers
- I started going to the gym.
- I prioritised ‘me’ time every day (even if it was just going for a walk for half an hour, I did it – even when it was freezing cold).
- And slowly but surely, the sunshine broke through the clouds.
- I was still being super productive but without working weekends (how was that possible?).
- I quit the habit of rushing up to my office after dinner.
- I switched off my phone at 6pm, so I couldn’t check Facebook and emails.
- The darkness lifted.
- No more foggy heads.
- No more sore, tired, eyes and migraines.
- No more clock-watching-fuelled-panic attacks.
- No more dried up ideas.
New clients filtered their way through to me, and instead of trying to impress them with an uber-ridiculously quick turnaround, I gave them realistic deadlines, and they were happy with that.
- Ideas flooded into my freshened-not-frazzled brain at all times of the day and night.
- I fell in love with my business again.
- I got into alignment with what I wanted.
- I learned to say ‘no’ to ridiculous deadlines.
- I charged my worth.
- I started attracting soulmate clients.
- I started saying ‘no’ to the ones who wanted discounts and rush jobs.
- My writing came from a place of ease, and my productivity soared.
And it was all thanks to these small but significant changes – which I’ve continued to build on over the past couple of years – that my wellbeing improved tenfold, and I’ve continued to create the kind of writer’s life I craved so badly just a short while ago.
I listen to my body now and don’t push it like I used to. I take a day off if I’m feeling really tired, and I don’t feel guilty in the slightest.
I work to a schedule (ish) whereby I do my VIP client work on certain days and my ad-hoc clients on others.
And Fridays are kept just for me.
Sometimes I’ll take a few hours off, or spend time writing my own stuff, catching up with my admin or I’ll go for my ‘long walk treat’ (up to the local reservoir and back takes about 2.5 hours) with my latest Audible book plugged in. Whatever I do, it’s all about topping up my ‘me’ tank, recharging my solar panels and keeping up the Happy Michelle levels. Because I know when they’re on an even keel, everything else just flows.
So the next time you’re pushing yourself or ladling on the pressure, ease up a bit, for your sake.
Because without a happy, healthy, energised you, there will be no business. There will be no writing success. No ideas. No sparkle. Productivity will cease. Your dreams will never be realised.
Listen to your body and your mind. Get into alignment with the kind of results you want and expect, and the natural flow will come.
If you’re not feeling 100% right now, print out this wellbeing tips for writers article and pin it up near your desk as a reminder.