As writers we constantly think about things such as story, character development, arc, style, grammar and endless variations and extras. Bud underpinning all that has to be your basic every day stuff. From your writing fog you look up and say, what’s that?
What that is is how you pursue your writing work, how you write, how you treat yourself when you write.
Do you set daily priorities, know what you need to get done? Do you stick to those priorities, whether a daily word or page count or some writing business you need to get taken care of? Or do you allow yourself to get distracted by your email, the web or whatever? Email can be a terrible time sap, not just because you read it but because of what you allow it to do to you. You have to respond to this email, that one offers a special deal you can’t refuse, another is a friend texting to chat.
There goes your morning if you check your email before you begin writing. Seriously, it can wait. Ask those people closest to you who may email or text you to use some code word in the subject line that indicates an emergency – heck just use ‘emergency’ if they really really need you and not to use it unless it IS an emergency. You know your friends and who you can count on. Then quickly scan your email for that word in the subject line. Everything else can wait. I repeat, everything else can wait. Your writing time is your writing time. No calls, no web, no nothing but writing. If you can’t do this simple thing to help yourself or you can’t get cooperation, then I recommend you not check your email first thing – leave it until later. Remember something you need to do on Email? Jot it down. Yes, it can wait. Don’t let others decide how your day is going to go for you. Take charge and stand firm. Write.
Another thing, I hope you’re taking good care of yourself. How your mind works hinges on how you take care of your body and mind. It’s a shame I have to mention it, but coffee alone is not breakfast. To, eat well, drink water, exercise, skip the alcohol and caffeine (most of it anyway) and if you don’t think you’re getting enough of the right stuff in your food, add a good broad-spectrum supplement. You’ll be glad you did. You’ll feel better and think more clearly and that’s what writing is all about, right? Clear mind, great story.
And don’t forget to take breaks – often. We so frequently get wrapped up in what we’re writing we forget to simply step away from the computer, get a glass of water or cup of tea. Get up for heaven’s sakes. Stretch. Take a short walk if you can. Get a stationary bike (I did and love it for my ‘quickie’ breaks). I also walk up and down the stairs and do easy stretches in my office. It refocuses, makes me feel good, and yes, science is on our side in this, the person who takes frequent breaks outperforms the foolish folks who sit transfixed like lumps at their computers. Have an adjustable desk as well – what a great thing! I can stand or sit and the desk goes with me. A Varidesk.
Just got back from walking up and down the stairs a couple of times. So, what are you going to do? Got little tips for writers to keep moving? Share them in the comments below.
Peggy Bechko is a Contributing Editor to TVWriter™. You can learn more about her HERE.