Writing is life.

A few weeks ago, Lisa Munro wrote “Writing as Self-care” on her blog and this follow-up on focusing/actually writing when you dedicate time to doing it.

Jennifer Polk also referred to the Lisa’s post in her latest University Affairs column.

And it’s exactly right (write?). Prioritizing writing means prioritizing yourself and that is hard for a lot of people, including me. One of the biggest things I say about depression is that it makes it that much harder to consider yourself a priority.

I’ve often thought of it this way: it’s not even necessarily that I’m not a priority, it’s just that everyone else is more of a priority than I am.

In academia, and many other competitive fields, there need to be at least some moments of self-prioritization, otherwise careers and other things can stagnate.

In some ways, I’m doing better at saying I belong on Earth, being a person and trying to be OK taking up space.

I started this blog because I had nothing else going well in my life at the time. Writing has done more for my mental health than almost anything else. I’m trying to transition into a job where I get to write a lot for my job (that isn’t the traditional tenure-track academia). My science blog has done pretty well in its first year, beyond my expectations.

Writing is not just priority for me, even though the last few months it’s gotten harder to maintain a daily practice. And I need to make it more of a habit as well as incorporating the trappings that go along with writing: research, graphics/art, and editing (ideally separating those tasks in time).

Writing is life.

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Author: Ian Street

Ian is a plant scientist and science writer relating stories of plant science and scientists on his blog, The Quiet Branches as well as other outlets. You can find him on Twitter @IHStreet.

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