Friday Speak Out!: Critique Sitting and Self-Care

Friday, July 27, 2018
by Savannah Hendricks

A trending topic via hashtags (octothorp) on social media is #selfcare and #selflove. I’ve even used those tags, but fell flat in my own outcome.

In many households, even in the changing times, women often have the responsibility of caring for the children, cooking, cleaning, and maintaining a career.

How do women juggle all this and find time to write, let alone time for self-care? They stand-up for their time! And you can too!

But wait! What if you are a single parent or don’t have extra funds for a babysitter? Ladies, I have a plan for you!

If you have a local critique group, suggest a babysitting critique swap.

Swap the kids and the manuscript writing time or critique time between two people. Or, have a rotating critique-sitter each month where you take all the kids and rotate critique-sitters each time.

Have a play-date at a park with a seating area for the group to mingle and talk critique while the kids play nearby.

Maybe your critique group is online and you are not able to critique-sit-swap. Take your kids to the playground or play area in town where they can make friends or meet up with friends and family while you write. Even if you are experiencing writer’s block, being out in nature can help you brainstorm. If you live somewhere that’s hot in the summer (like I do in Phoenix), try a local McDonald’s/Chick-Fil-A/Carl’s Junior and or (even better choice) search for restaurants with play areas on Yelp. Many communities have kid events for free that will even allow you to leave your kids for a few hours and supervise them.

Now back to self-care. This is vital for all writers, especially woman writers who wear so many different hats in life. You know when the kids finally go to bed, or finally get along with each other and you have some time to write, but all you want to do is relax for FIVE MINUTES!!!


Don’t feel guilt about taking time away from writing to make yourself whole and rested. Yes, I know you must write. I know you need to write. Yet, how well do you write when you are thinking about how tired you are? Have you ever had that extra glass of wine while writing, and then read what you wrote in the morning….same thing happens when you are overtired and try to write.

So, find a critique-sitting group, make one or present it to your current group. Find community places that work best for your kids and your writing. And for goodness sakes, take a time for you so your story can be its very best.

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Savannah Hendricks is the author of Nonnie and I (Xist Pub., 2014) available in English, Spanish & bilingual editions. She holds a Master’s in Criminal Justice, & a degree in Early Childhood Education. You can learn more, including a list of publications, by visiting her blog at

Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!


Angela Mackintosh said...

Hi Savannah ~ I've heard a lot about self care lately, and you have some really great ideas! I know a lot of moms will appreciate the babysitting critique swap suggestion. I like that you said not to feel guilty about taking time away from writing to make yourself whole and rested. I always feel guilty when I don't write, so it's a good reminder not to be so hard on myself. It's nice to show up to the page well rested. :)

Congratulations on your book and publications. Also your degrees! Thanks for the post, and I love that photo of you and your fur babies! :)

Lynn Rogalsky said...

Such a clever idea, Savannah - Critique sitting! I agree with you on self-care. Every writer writes better when well. :)

Savannah said...

Thank you so much Angela!!! Yes, don't be hard on yourself when you need to step away from the page!! Have a great weekend.

Savannah said...

Thank you Lynn!

Sioux Roslawski said...

Savannah--It's like when you're on an airplane. They instruct you to put the oxygen mask on yourself--if needed--before putting it on your child.

You have to take care of yourself so that you're able to take care of others.

Good luck with your future writing projects, and thanks for writing this post. The idea of sharing a sitter is a great one.

Savannah said...

Love that analogy Sioux, because it is so true! And thank you for your kind words!

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