A few weeks ago we invited you to take a break from reality with us for NaNoWriMo, but did you know creative writing can positively impact on your well-being? Mental health benefits associated with creative writing include reducing stress, improved cognitive function, and even overall increases in happiness.
Writing as an act of self-care
Even thought National Novel Writing Month is more than halfway over, it’s never too late to start. Here are some ways to use creative writing as self-care. Without any pressures from school assignments or deadlines, it turns out writing can be quite fun and beneficial. And while self-care is a somewhat overused buzzword, these days we all can use more ways to help improve our well-being.
Expectation Free Zone
Makes sure you check any expectations along with your inner critic at the door. Allowing yourself freedom and creativity helps make sure that writing is stress-free and enjoyable. Don’t worry about length or perfection, there will be
If you’re stuck or feeling terribly uncreative, use writing prompts to help get you started. There are a lot available from NaNoWriMo’s #StayatHomeWriMo from earlier this spring as well as lots of other resources. A simple web search will also bring up thousands of prompts fitting any mood or genre.
Read for Inspiration
A great way to fuel your own creativity is to consume other’s work. While movies and other entertainment can also serve as inspiration, of course the library is going to recommend books! In addition to light fiction books found in our Browsing Books, we also have quite a few books that can help with creative write.
- Revision & self-editing: Techniques for transforming your first draft into a finished novel by James Scott Bell
- Great stories don’t write themselves: criteria-driven strategies for more effective fiction by Larry Brooks
- Learning to write fiction from the masters by Barnaby Conrad
- Now write!: Fiction writing exercises from today’s best writers and teachers by Sherry Ellis
- Write your novel in a month: How to complete a first draft in 30 days and what to do next by Jeff Gerke
- Worlds of wonder: How to write science fiction & fantasy by David Gerrold
- Writing fiction for dummies by Randy Ingermanson
- Will write for food: The complete guide to writing cookbooks, restaurant reviews, articles, memoir, fiction, and more by Dianne Jacob
- On writing: a memoir of the craft by Stephen King
- Characters, emotion & viewpoint: Techniques and exercises for crafting dynamic by Nancy Kress
- Picture yourself writing fiction: Using photos to inspire writing Sheila Griffin Llanas
- Write fantasy fiction in 5 simple steps by Laura McKay
- Write great fiction : description & setting: Techniques and exercises for crafting a believable world of people, places, and events by Ron Rozelle
- The book of dialogue: How to write effective conversation in fiction, screenplays, drama, and poetry by Lewis Turco
Don’t Force It
While some find it comforting to make sure they write every day, if you aren’t feeling the writing vibes don’t force it! Writing for fun should be enjoyable above anything else. Take as many days off as you need to and return to your creative writing when the time feels right.
Join Milner for NaNoWriMo!
Check out additional self care and writing prompts available from NaNoWriMo.org’s #StayatHomeWriMo initiative, which helps frame creative writing in a way that helps your physical, mental, social, and creative well-being complete with checklists that address each of these areas of wellness. And if you’re up for even more writing for fun, join Milner for our November challenge to write 1,000 fictional words and join our NaNoWriMo contest! Additional information is available here.