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Writer Self Care Isn’t Just for Instagram Stories (7 Ways)

In a perfect world, we’d all crave kale + spirulina smoothies & when given the choice of Netflix or a 45 minute cardio sesh, we’d pick SoulCycle every time. You are concerned about your health and want to stay reasonably fit, but don’t want to get a gym membership. What do you do to stay healthy and focus on writing? We need writer self care.

Here’s my thoughts, and let me remind you, I’m not a doctor or a physical trainer, so these are just my own experiments and tips I’ve learned from fellow writers.

You Need Your Brain to Keep Writing, So We’d Better Take Care of It

Now, I’m no Crossfitter, and I dare anyone to try to make me do box jumps, but I do know the value of keeping your body healthy. Don’t roll your eyes at me saying, “I hate exercise!” because, Writer, you are not the only person who hates exercise.

Everyone but children under 10 hates exercise… even Jillian Michaels. Probably especially her because she must be bored after doing that all day for so many years.

No one loves exercise and if they say they do, then write them into your next novel as the villain.

You don’t have to be a Marathoner to stay reasonably fit and healthy. You don’t even have to break a sweat.

You just have to make a little bit of regular movement + good food choices part of your lifestyle and reap the writer self care rewards.

Writer Self Care is the Key to Being a Healthy, Happy Author

Can we min/max our health so we have to do the least amount of work, but still get some good results?

Min/Max (v): A role-playing/video game term that means to create the “best” character possible by way of minimizing undesired or unimportant traits and maximizing desired ones.

So, how the Faulkner can you stay reasonably fit and healthy without going to the gym?

Here’s the strategy that’s kept me at a desirable weight and energy level for several years.

7 Things to Do to Make Writer Self Care a Little Bit Easier

01. Move a little bit throughout the day

After lunch, I’ll take a walk around the grassy area at work, or a walk in the evening with my husband. I also get up to use the bathroom more than I strictly need to, purposefully fill my water cup only 1/2 way so I have to refill it more often.

It sounds silly to make extra bathroom breaks a “writer self care” thing, but that little bit of extra movement makes a huge difference over a few days, weeks, or your lifetime.


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Sometimes, I’ll take a few coffee/tea breaks to step outside and breathe the fresh air—or even just step outside to check my text messages instead of doing it at my desk.

You don’t have to run a mile every day, but do try to walk several over the course of it.

02. Do 3-15 minutes of strengthening or maintenance exercise for your muscles each day

Your muscles need to be worked to avoid atrophy, but it doesn’t take much to maintain them, and it takes very little to just get in some writer self care.

For me, this is usually a minute or 2 each of planking, wall-sits, and Supermans. Stomach vacuums, bridges, and glute squeezes are also good ‘least you can do’ choices.

I also go up and down 20-30 flights of stairs per day, just because of the layout of my job and house, so I take those at a run. I do a couple Sun Salutation yoga flows 3-5 times a week.

And I stretch my back, neck, legs, and arms every night to keep my muscles long and limber—with the side benefit that it’s really relaxing and feels great. I didn’t always do this last part, and the result was 3 years of agonizing neck pain, so learn from my mistake and stretch your whole body every day!

Check Out: Ep 01. The Dreamy Season of Your Writing Journey Starts Today

03. Eat as clean as you can afford

I skip the drive-through and frozen/pre-packaged meals as much as possible. Though the taste of a McDonald’s Quarter Pounder, fries, and fountain Coke (so much better than bottle!) is something I’ll always love, I don’t eat it.

We’ll grab something maybe once a year, but otherwise skip sodas 100%, and make our own burgers and fries so we can control the ingredients that go in them (and therefore in us).

Practice removing just one unclean habit from your dietary routine at a time. My first change was dropping the Coke Zero (and other sodas) about 8 years ago. I remember the day I decided I was done. It wasn’t as hard of a change as I expected it to be, but other things have been, so focus on the small wins.

04. Drink water like it’s going out of style

Getting enough clean, pH-balanced water every day is THE most essential thing to good health and a singular key in successful writer self care.

You need it to flush out the junk you’ve been eating, to keep your intestines moving along, and to rebalance your body’s pH when you’ve been eating too much sugar, starch, or other acidic things (cough, soda, cough).

In the morning, chug a huge glass to get your digestive system moving and move out all the toxins your body spent the whole night collecting. BUT throughout the rest of the day, take little sips. If you drink too fast, you literally flood your system and instead of the water going to good use in your flesh and organs, your kidneys send it straight to your bladder, which is a total waste.

05. Get your annual check ups

This means both your general practitioner doctor AND your lady doctor, if applicable. Don’t skip that pap! It also means you need to go to the dentist twice a year.

Just because you don’t have an unusual rash or a toothache doesn’t mean you can put it off until next year. 

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06. Do something every day that quiets your mind for 10 minutes

This could be a meditation session, breathing exercises, painting, working on your car, yoga, running, staring at a Magic Eye, knitting, or even standing in front of the fridge with the door open while you stare at nothing and think about nothing.

The point is just to let your brain waves cool off for a few minutes. It keeps your neural pathways strong and lowers your chances of mental degenerative diseases later on.

07. Do something every day that reminds you life is valuable

If we can’t remember that there’s a point to this whole life thing, then it’s not so easy to do a good job at life-ing, is it? We all need SOMETHING that reminds us that life (both our own and others’) is valuable.

That something could be volunteering at the women’s shelter or animal shelter, teaching kids how to paint at the community center, or (what luck!) working on your WIP novel.

Whatever you do, make sure that every day you’re living, you give back to yourself and the rest of the world in some way. 

Don’t ever phone it in with your life. Don’t get up, go to work, come home, Netflix, sleep, repeat. You weren’t put here for that and your body knows it.

You don’t have to be a bodybuilder, but you need to do the minimum.

What do you think is the #1 thing every writer should do, at the minimum, to be healthy?

Let’s change some lives,

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Holly

PS — 🩵 When it feels right, here are 3 ways I can help you turn the page:

  1. The Book Map. Imagine having a GPS for your book-writing journey, guiding you from “I think I have an idea!” all the way to “OMG, I did it! I wrote a book!” That’s what the Book Map can do for you. It’s a supercharged roadmap for your writing journey. It’s not just about outlining chapters; it’s about diving deep into what you want to say and the best way to say it, ensuring every word pulls its weight. You’re not just writing a book; you’re crafting a masterpiece that feels as if it almost writes itself. Ready to make your book dream a reality? Let’s Book Map it!
  2. One-to-One Book Coaching. I have a vision of changing the world one book at a time, by teaching world-changers to create a book in a gentler, more effective way. A way that takes both you and your reader on a profound journey. I see a future where we build trust in our words, worlds, and work with our books, and where the world becomes a better place because of the books we write. My commitment is to bring to life books—fiction and nonfiction—founded on integrity. I’ll bring the map, and you’ll take us on the journey. If you’re ready to change the world with your book, your quest awaits. Apply for a free discovery call here. It takes 3 minutes.
  3. Listen to the Podcast. The Book Coach Chronicles: A podcast for writers of books, people who want to be writers of books, and y’all in the back who’ve been thinking about it but don’t yet consider yourself a writer. Listen on AppleSpotify, or Everywhere Else.

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Holly Ostrout is a book coach with a vision of changing the world one book at a time, by teaching big-idea entrepreneurs, coaches, speakers, and authors to create a book in a gentler, more effective way. A way that takes both you and your reader on a profound journey.
Holly Ostrout

Hi I’m Holly. If you’re going to change the world with your book, fiction or nonfiction, I can help you do it.

I'm a book coach for high-achieving, creative coaches, consultants, service providers, speakers, and authors who want to build a sustainable business around their book—whether that’s fiction or nonfiction.

I help you share your wisdom, ideas, and gifts by writing & publishing a life-changing book that helps you streamline your business, bring in more money, and change more lives.

I believe books are the most important human invention. And yours can change the world.

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Joyful, Easy Writing Can Be Yours​

Find that magical zone when the words flow like honey + everything you want to say comes across in perfect harmony. Write your book joyfully + easily with this Writing Ritual Tracker & keep the flow with my helpful newsletter.

Mockup of The Writing Ritual Creator from Holly Ostrout

Joyful, Easy Writing Can Be Yours

Writing Ritual Tracker from Books & Alchemy

Find that magical zone when the words flow like honey + everything you want to say comes across in perfect harmony. Write your book joyfully + easily with this Writing Ritual Tracker & keep the flow with my helpful newsletter.

Mockup of The Writing Ritual Creator from Holly Ostrout
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If You Want to Change the World with Your Book, You've Got to Write It.

Find that magical zone when the words flow like honey + everything you want to say comes across in perfect harmony. Write your book joyfully + easily with this Writing Ritual Creator & keep the flow with my helpful newsletter.