At the park with Barry
Since New Year’s opening bell, Facebook and Twitter have been abuzz with complaints of writer’s block, general ennui and a need on the part of many writers to lose weight—a lot of weight.
On his blog last week, Joe Konrath announced he’d put himself on a thirty day, beer-only diet to shed pounds. Earlier, I ran across an article on Amanda Hocking’s amazing rise in the publishing world. The story warmed my heart. But the photos of this attractive young woman—a dedicated novelist who was quite overweight—sent up the red flags on my maternal instinct.
What’s going on?
No doubt you want the short version. Here it is: the boom in Independent Publishing now allows writers across genres to make a living publishing and promoting their books. Dedicated scribes spend upwards to 18 hours a day, 7 days a week, in front of the computer. No wonder complaints of writer’s block abound.
If you’re one of those folks strapped to your computer at all hours, consider the long haul. Frankly, you can’t build and nurture a fan base if you’re dead.
I’ve been writing professionally for thirty years. In between deadlines I raised four children, helped build several companies and managed a 12-acre farm. I began writing fiction full-time in 2004—the same year divorce dropped the bottom out of my world. Through it all, I’ve remained healthy. You can, too.
Here are a few tips to increase your productivity and safeguard your health:
Ignore the deadlines, self-imposed and otherwise, and get a minimum of thirty minutes exercise every day. Join the gym and become friends with the treadmill. Or take your neglected dog for a walk in the afternoon sunshine. Dance in your living room. Do whatever it takes to get in those minutes.
Upset tummy from too much stress? Drink ginger tea while you write. Trouble sleeping? Try an herbal sleep supplement that includes Chamomile. Unable to focus? Sit on the floor for several minutes and stretch. And for heaven’s sake, breathe deeply. If you’ve never learned Yoga 101, now is the time to get your Zen on.
Combine common sense with social media. Structure your workday to allow set times to check in with your fans and chat with your writing brethren on Facebook, Twitter and other sites.
Eat well—and, as much as possible, avoid eating while you work. Mix walnuts, cashews and raisins for a healthy afternoon snack. Ensure you have vegetables in at least two meals each day. If you find yourself craving sugar, you’re actually craving exercise. An overworked brain and under-worked body are a sure ticket to packing on pounds.
Your body is as sacred as your WIP or the novel you’ve just released. Treat yourself well and you’ll continue to pen compelling works for many years to come.