Nicole Counts of One World Recommends...

The book you’re trying to write lives within your body. This means that without patience, care, and grace you risk breaking your body in the process of writing said book. You may find your back in so much pain you are immobile. You may feel pain in your chest so deep that your shoulder blades ache when you take a deep breath. You may feel crazy for how tired, weak, tingly, sweaty, and/or restless you have become. You may become convinced that something is really wrong, which maybe it is.

I urge you to think of your body before you think about: the trends you will miss out on if you don’t write fast enough, the editor you will disappoint (it’s fine that you’re late, we are overwhelmed and late too!), the money you need (a very real concern), or the terror, anxiety, and relief you will feel when you just “finish the damn book.” Because writing is a bodily act. Your ideas, dreams, stories, traumas, past, present, and future lives live within you. Writing extracts all of these things, whether you want it to or not. This can be healing, loving, tender work, of course, and it is also strenuous, draining, and rigorous.

So, please, be soft with your body. Rest more than you think you need to, rub lotion lovingly into your skin, circling your joints. Take baths, drink water, stretch, breathe, talk to your body, walk slowly—so slowly. Writing is bodily work, so love your body hard by being soft to and with and for it.

Nicole Counts, senior editor, One World

Photo credit: Aaron Hunt