Self-Care and Synopses

self-care and synopses

Self-Care and Synopses

Recently I wrote a synopsis, and the whole process reminded me of how much work writing is.

In case you don’t know, a synopsis is a 1-3 page summary of your novel, including spoilers. Some literary agents want synopses to see the structure of your novel. They can be boring, and include spoilers about the novel’s end. Essentially, it’s the novel boiled down to the main plot points. And writing a synopsis is hard.

The synopsis in question was for Waiting Room, which is over 300 pages long. Waiting Room is a contemporary novel, so I didn’t even have to include world-building. I can’t imagine what writing a synopsis for a 500-page fantasy or science fiction novel would be like. The ninth circle of hell, perhaps.

Here’s how I managed to write a synopsis:

  1. Write down the essentials of what happens in each chapter. (If I had used Scrivener for this novel, I might have already had a mini-synopsis of each chapter – Scrivener allows you to compile the chapter summary and look at them like they’re index cards. Just another reason to love Scrivener).
  2. Try to mash these sentences into something halfway readable.

Generally, I think writing is fun, when I’m doing the writing part of writing. Revising and editing are not quite fun, and I used to think those were the hardest part of writing. Then I realized that query letters were much harder. And here we have synopses.

After all that, no wonder I needed some self-care.

Here’s a list of some things that work for me, and I hope they will work for other writers in need of self-care.


Whatever movement means for you: whether it’s a high intensity workout, or a yoga class, or just a walk through the woods, get moving. So much of writing involves sitting hunched over a computer screen for hours. Do some stretches, follow along to a YouTube fitness video. Your body will thank you.


Dim the lights, light a candle or some incense, or use an aromatherapy diffuser. I always feel pampered when I do this.

Binge-watch something

Writing usually means I have the TV off, and once I’m done with my writing tasks, it’s imperative to catch up on my Netflix queue.

Hang with friends

Socializing is a great way to re-enter the world after solitary writing time. Anything that gets you away from the computer and screens in general is good, and socializing will help you remember that you are a member of the human race and not wear pajamas all day.

Write a blog post about how hard writing is

I could include lots of other stuff here, but this is the quick and dirty (and mostly free) list of ways to treat yo’ self after you’ve finished some hard writing work.

What do you do for self-care?

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