Are You Taking Care of This First?
Want to know the hardest thing about writing? For me, anyway?
It’s the taking-care-of-myself part.
Yet, that part is crucial, because high-quality writing is heavily influenced by good health.
If you’re well-rested, physically fit, calm, and content, your creativity and efficiency soar.
If you’re sleep-deprived, mad, sad, hungry, or stressed … your writing suffers.
Unfortunately, I tend to identify with that latter list more often than the former. After all, my reality includes three kids under the age of five. I can’t walk two steps without tripping over a toy train or a jar full of live grasshoppers. A good night’s sleep means four hours of uninterrupted snoozing.
Over the years, I’ve learned if I want to write anything worth reading, I have to compartmentalize my daily stresses and challenges. And, I have to treat my mind and body like my most valuable business assets.
That means making the effort to invest in my health.
Here’s what I’ve found most effective, and what I recommend you do:
- Create a healthy work setup. If you plan to spend a lot of time writing, you’ll benefit from an ergonomic setup. A chair that puts your thighs parallel with the floor is a good start. Standing desks are also helpful. I have my keyboard attached to a moveable arm so I can sit or stand when I type.
Move around a lot. You already know exercise is important to health, but that’s especially the case for writers, since we tend to be stationary during most of the day.
A good technique is to get up every 30 minutes and move around for five minutes. I have a trampoline in my office for just that purpose. Gets the blood pumping, you know?
Eat well. Obviously, healthy food feeds your brain. Sugar and caffeine aren’t the best long-term solutions for fuel. Water will always be your friend. Easy snacks like nuts, carrots, and energy bars refuel you without layering on the pounds.
If you absolutely need something sweet, fruit pie beats out just about every other dessert. (Think brain-boosting antioxidants!)
Like and love others. Positive social connections are vital to your mental well-being. And mental well-being is key for focused writing.
So, call up that good friend you haven’t seen in months and schedule a coffee date. Ditch the negative friend who always gets on your nerves. Tell the people you love most how important they are to you. Try to strike up short conversations with people you see when you run to the store or the bank. Simple, friendly interactions go a long way in keeping your outlook bright.
Sleep. It’s simple. Basic. Universal. And totally irreplaceable.
Two years ago, I started getting up at four in the morning. It was the only way to get uninterrupted writing time. But it only worked because I was asleep by 9 pm.
It’s pretty easy to eat junk food, stay up late watching movies, and sit still all day.
But none of those things will accelerate your path to paid writing.
So, take the time to invest a little TLC in your own health. In return, you’ll get a massive boost in your creativity and productivity.
Tomorrow I’ll talk about the two best ways to invest in your image so you look great in real life and on paper.
The Professional Writers’ Alliance
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