The “First Wealth” Is …

Happy New Year! And with that, comes a question …

Did you answer “health” when you read today’s subject line?

Because that’s the full quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “The first wealth is health.”

And although the pie-loving, chocolate-peanut-butter-cup-munching, would-rather-sit-on-the-couch-and-watch-movies side of me kind of hates that quote …

The rest of me adores it.

It’s just so true. Embracing your health as the first step to wealth really is the way to go, if you want a long-lasting, lucrative career as a freelance writer. And it’s a key part of your Goal Fulfillment System (GFS) that’ll make 2014 your best year ever.

Here’s what I know for sure, after nearly seven years of being a paid freelancer:

  • If I pound out 30 minutes of vigorous exercise before a writing session, my mind bursts with new and creative leads for my projects.
  • If I eat a balanced breakfast—with fruits and protein and all that good stuff—my focus is stronger.
  • If I’m in bed by 9 p.m., I can get up at 5 a.m. and write three hours of solid content. And by that I mean a higher word count with fewer edits needed than anything I write later on in the day.

So, on this first day of this fresh, new year, I urge you to embrace new habits that merge health with your writing goals. Here are 10 healthy-writing strategies I recommend:

  1. Drink a lot of water. Keep a gallon-sized jug at your desk and refill your glass throughout the day.
  2. Get up from your desk every 30 – 45 minutes and stretch or walk around your room.
  3. Put exercise equipment in your office. Could be anything from small hand weights to a rowing machine. Use it when you take your breaks from sitting.
  4. Get a desk chair with the highest quality ergonomic support you can find. Same goes for your keyboard and mouse.
  5. Use apps like f.lux to automatically adjust the brightness of your monitor (helps avoid eye fatigue).
  6. Get one of those massive exercise balls and alternate between sitting on it and sitting in your desk chair. Your hips will thank you.
  7. Add a second monitor to your computer set up. You’re more efficient when you can see multiple documents and research materials at once.
  8. Get eight hours of sleep each night, and aim to go to bed earlier rather than sleep in later.
  9. Have lots of brain-boosting snacks in arm’s reach, like walnuts, protein bars, and fresh fruit.
  10. Take breaks from writing every now and then to watch a video that makes you laugh out loud or leaves you feeling inspired.

Basically, start the New Year by taking care of your mind and body, and good writing will follow. (And if you have any additional health-writing strategies that work for you, please share them here.)

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Published: January 1, 2014

10 Responses to “The “First Wealth” Is …”

  1. Get a desk treadmill! You don't have to spend hundreds of dollars; get online and see how lots of people have found ways to devise their own...I wrote almost all of my 50,000 words for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) on my treadmill - the equivalent of walking 5 marathons.

    Guest (Mary Roberts)

  2. Excellent strategies to maintain a fresh outlook! The only thing I would add is to take the time to appreciate the beauty of nature. I find that taking the time to marvel at natural beauty refreshes my spirit and opens my mind. Even up here in the frozen North!

    Joe Reynolds

  3. I love the points made in the article, which have coincided with the concept and practice of Universal Healthy Lifestyle. For details, visit: universalhealthylifestyle dot com and formefirst dot com; besides, I launched a FREE e-Newsletter - A March to Long Happy Life for All. I do believe the contents I refer to will solidify the points in discussion, just like many of my patients have benefited.

    Guest (James Chin-Ti)

  4. Taking walks outside in the fresh air throughout the day works better for me than around in my room. The change of scenery is good.

    I also find doing quick yoga poses feel great after sitting and typing for awhile.

    Christopher Dean

  5. This is inspiring, thank you! I echo the sentiments to go outside and get some fresh air and sun while taking in a bit of nature. Audible books are great too, I tend to choose self help and positive psychology books to listen to, they propel me forward and you can easily stop and restart them when you need to focus. for productivity I use a software tool called "Concentrate" and set it for chunks of writing time. You tell it which social media sites and technology to block while you're writing. It even has stretch break reminders - makes a big difference for me!

    Stephani Roberts

  6. I have begun a program of eliminating all sugars from my diet (glucose, sucrose, hfcs, and many others).
    I also do Tai chi daily- even if it only 5-10 minutes

    Guest (judy yazersky)

  7. I use a special brand of reading glasses for monitor work. They have a yellow tint and are .5 strength weaker than what I wear when reading paper print. When I put them on I can actually feel all the muscles around my eyes relax. Best discovery I have ever made. Staples sells them.

    Bonnie Pecka

  8. A second or even third monitor will greatly improve productivity. I agree with the various 'walk outside' comments, much more beneficial than exercise in the same room!

    Consider a desk which elevates. Being able to alternate between standing and sitting has great benefits - especially when you are really engaged, and want to give your body some physical fatigue rest while stilling pursuing things intellectually!


  9. I use a REBOUNDER for exercise.if you would like to learn about the benefits of rebounding, I recommend REBOUND EXERCISE , a book by Albert Carter. its available at Amazon. Wonderful exercise and its great to perk you up. Pete OBrien

    Pete OBrien

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