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A Strong Foundation

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the brainchild of Alex Cavenaugh and has several dedicated administrators as well. You can read more about them and the group here. This group is designed to help writers overcome, deal with or vent about their insecurities. Writers who've come through the fire, share helpful tips for overcoming insecurities, which is what I'm doing in this post.

Today I'm examining insecurity in writing and sharing holistic health solutions. Insecurity has more of a chance to thrive in an unhealthy environment. Not having a healthy foundation cultivates and strengthens the shaky environment, producing the most undesirable effects.

                                     (Posted on by Matt Willliams)


Whatever your beliefs, it's a good idea to employ them as you begin writing each day. Spiritual practices may include prayer or sacred readings, meditation, yoga, mantras or peace-inducing mudras. I am into alternative spirituality within the Earth-based Spirituality vein. I find that having reminders of the bountiful spirit of Mother Nature nearby, nourishes my soul and helps me along with the writing process. I like having fresh flowers around my work space. My children gave me a beautiful orchid plant for Ostara, and somehow I'm managing to keep it alive (fingers crossed). Collecting fresh flowers such as lilac and crab apple blossoms and putting them near your typewriter or computer, as I did this morning, also lifts the spirits through scent and sight. This sets the stage for a productive day of work. When I'm digging deep, I'll add a candle to this mix. Fire is a great energizer.

Yesterday, it was cloudy and rainy outside so I burned a brightening sandalwood incense to lift my spirits. I like Japanese Sandalwood Incense. In the Llewellyn Herbal Almanac I wrote an extensive article on the healing and soothing properties of sandalwood in relation to mood. The research for that article still inspires me.

Exercise Breaks

I've found taking replenishing breaks also creates a healthy environment conducive to confident work. I like swimming but when I can't leave my desk that long, I take short breaks to walk my dog.

Dog walking (or any type of walking) raises waning energy, lending inner strength. Looking around outside, feeling fresh air on your face, stimulates creativity and breaks creative blocks. It also reduces guilt. The reasons are: you are getting your blood flowing throughout your body, taking care of your mind, body and spirit, while also keeping your animal companion amused.

Realistic Scheduling

It's self-defeating to think you'll sit down and write the magnum opus in a week. Setting aside manageable blocks of time where you can see them written down helps keep your goals reasonable. You feel accomplished when you can say to yourself, yes I did my 3 hours of writing I'd planned for today, and then move on to other issues in need of tending. I use my google calendar and a daily (hard copy) planner.

Beverage Breaks

Any type of beverage, hot or cold, caffeinated or not, keeps energy from stagnating. Depending on my mood, I will have Japanese twig tea, chamomile and rose herb tea, Darjeeling, coffee or cold water with lemon.

Masala Chai from wikipedia tea entry

These are just a few of my tips for building a strong foundation so insecurity doesn't have a chance to take root.

What do you do to build a healthy foundation for your writing?


  1. These are wonderful suggestions for staying in the flow! I'm big on taking mindfulness breaks, where I take 5-10 minutes to take stock of everything in my life that is perfect just as it is. It keeps me from putting everything into my writing in such a way that the stakes feel too high. It also helps creativity flow because I re-approach with my heart full of gratitude and then writing just feels like a fun, creative outlet--as it should! :)

    1. Shelah, we sound on the same page. I like your idea of approaching with a heart full of gratitude.

  2. Interesting tips, Stephanie! Your orchid sounds lovely.

    I've been taking more walks lately - how does that help reduce guilt? I've never heard that before!

    1. Thanks Madeline. I think we all feel a bit guilty for letting our body go from lack of exercise so the creativity of our mind is given lots of attention and when you have a dog guilt magnifies.

  3. What wonderful tips, Stephanie! You're so right that anxiety can flourish in an unhealthy environment. Chamomile tea is one of my favorite relaxants as well. Problem is I usually grab a diet Coke instead!

    1. That's funny Karen. So true that we know what we need but sometimes do the opposite.

  4. Excellent tips! My spiritual foundation is very important and I exercise regularly.
    Welcome to the IWSG.

    1. Thanks for stopping by Alex. I'm back! I took a long break but was quite into IWSG last year and am glad to be back.

  5. I don't employ beverage breaks as much as have a cup of tea on the go all day! And dog-walking always helps me think.


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