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Creativity coach, writing and creative process instructor, speaker, author of Around the Writer's Block: Using Brain Science to Write the Way You Want (Penguin/Tarcher 2012) and Dancing in the Dragon's Den (Red Wheel Weiser), Teaching Artist at the Loft Literary Center.

Is Your Writing Practice Sustainable?

gold gooseAre you starving the Golden Goose? As I wrote in Around the Writer’s Block,

“Your creative genius is the goose that lays the golden eggs. If you, like the shortsighted farmer in the fable, don’t care for the goose, you’ll never see another golden egg…”

To make your writing practice sustainable, you must care for your brain, your golden goose, the source of your creativity and satisfaction.

Note: This is the second in a three-part sneak peek summary of the Three Recommended Habits: Process, Product Time and Self-care. This information is usually available only to my students and coaching clients on a password-protected page.


Since the brain is part of the body, usually anything that’s good for the body as a whole is good for the creative brain. The five forms of Self-care that are most effective for sustaining the health and well-being of your writer’s brain are:

  1. ???????????????????????exercise
  2. getting adequate sleep
  3. meditation
  4. time to focus on just one thing (freeing yourself from the demand to multitask so you can be all things to all people)
  5. play (social play, hobbies and other forms of recreation)

I recommend you do something for Self-Care for at least 15 minutes a day, 5 or 6 days a week. My standard commitment is to meditate for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.

Start small! If you haven’t meditated before, five minutes is a LONG time. If it’s been months since you’ve worked out, 15 or 20 minutes might be a good place to start. Increase the duration and intensity as you go.

If you already have a Self-care practice in place, for example, you already have an exercise routine, you don’t need to add another form of self-care immediately, just recognize that what you’re doing for your health also supports your writing.

Eventually you’ll want to honor each of the five forms of Self-care, but trying to start all five at once can backfire. Make sure you have a solid, consistent habit with one form before adding another.

You can find Success Stories from writers who applied the habits and the brain science behind why the habits serve writers so effectively in Chapters 3, 4 and 5 of Around the Writer’s Block: Using Brain Science to Solve Writer’s Resistance or in my Loft classes Discover Your Way Around the Writer’s Block or WTF Is Going On in My Brain When I Want to Write But Can’t.

Inquiry: What forms of Self-care are you already using to care for your Golden Goose/creative brain? Which form could you add that would give you the biggest payoff?

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2 Comments on “Is Your Writing Practice Sustainable?”

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