How to stay healthy while writing your book

First Things First
     As soon as you get up in the morning, get showered and eat breakfast. Once you sit down at the computer, it's anyone's guess when you will eat and wash. I know this because on the days I break this rule, I'm still in my bathrobe at dinner time.
Gain Perspective
     All that matters is that your story can only be written by you. Be yourself, have fun, enjoy your characters. When was the last time you laughed with joy as you were writing?
     Appreciate the gift of being able to express your ideas and share them with others. Do your very best, do all that is reasonable with gusto and pizazz, and then be humble enough to admit that the results are not up to you but to God.
Examine Your Motives
     Energize yourself by reaching for the highest motives for writing your book. Beyond fame, fortune, status, bragging rights, what purpose will your book serve? Will it provide entertainment, laughter, significant information, encouragement, inspiration, wisdom, values, morals, new ideas...what?
     For me, it's validating and encouraging my readers, while providing  large doses of humor. I love to picture my readers getting a lift from No Rocking Chairs Yet.
"Simplify, Simplify, Simplify" - Emerson 
     Henry David Thoreau wrote his most famous work, Walden, while living in a cabin in the woods with only the barest of life's essentials. He chose to learn what a simple lifestyle had to teach, and considered that special time as life at its best.
     To finally finish that book inside of you, you may have to let go of superfluous activities that overwhelm your schedule. Keep only those social interactions and hobbies that provide balance and contentment in your life, not the ones that add stress. It will be enough to keep up with your errands, prepping meals, and doing laundry. My ukulele has gathered layers of dust and my watercolor brushes are only dipped in color during writer's block.
Pace Up and Down
     One of my tips, learned the hard way, is to pace up and down while mulling something over. Only sit down while actually engaged in writing, editing, or online research. Do arm, wrist, and hand exercises while you are pacing and thinking about what to write next. Put some classical music on in the background.
Take Long Walks Whenever You Can.
     All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking, Nietzsche believed.
     "The moving landscape provides an absorbing diversion which frees the mind and gives us a fresh viewpoint, and we're most at ease with the world when we walk because everything is happening at a manageable pace." - Lloyd Jones 
      The art of walking, with its progressive motion, implies power. Just what you'll need when you get back to your desk.
     Convinced yet?
     Here's what one of your favorite writers, Dickens, said, "If I could not walk far and fast, I think I would explode and perish. Walk and be happy; walk and be healthy. The best way to lengthen out our days is to walk steadily and with a purpose."  
Be Dispassionate About Criticism of Your Work.
     Ask yourself, Is there anything valid and useful in the negative comments? If not, just view them as minor annoyances and march on. Remember, it's not the mountain of hard work ahead that irritates us to the point of utter distraction; it's the grain of sand in our shoe.
Accept and  Adjust
     I have finally accepted that I will never accomplish everything in this lifetime that I want to do, have to do, and should do. My to-do lists are interminable, self-perpetuating, and never-ending.
     Of course, the important and the urgent things must be done. But the speculative and imaginative things you would like to do "someday" aren't worth the constant angst of carrying around, copying and recopying. A list is not a life sentence. Just because you have wanted to do something for years doesn't mean it is still worth doing. Reassess your to-do list.
Here's to the survival of the fittest.

 


Comments

Bart McConnell
02/03/2014 6:54pm

It's been too long since I laughed with joy while writing. Your tips are helpful in getting me back on the right track.

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Erin McConnell
03/29/2014 4:06pm

Love your hint about gaining perspective so we can really enjoy what we're writing and not stress about it.

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