This is not a post about limiting adverbs or grammatical instruction – how could I dare?
It is about the health of writers. We, the desk supporters and holders of chairs so that they not float upward of their own accord. We sitters and immovable objects while we produce worlds of movement and travel and adventure.
Writers spend an awful lot of time sitting. We know that’s not great. Just as we build time into our schedules to write (BTW, we should all build time into our schedules to write) we also need time to move. Go for a walk, run some stairs, stretch for twenty minutes. It’s not only good for our bodies, but for our minds. The color green can increase energy and feelings of wellbeing. Increased oxygen can provide more clarity and energy for your next writing session.
Break up your writing sessions into morning and evening, or morning and afternoon, or other times. A four hour stretch of writing is a tough thing on your body, your mind and your story / work!
Look Away, For Two Minutes
I had a co-worker who was a graphical designer. He set a silent timer to popup on his screen every fifteen minutes to look around and away from his screen, including out the window and focus on very far off objects. He was very smart to do so as we are increasingly falling victim to new numbers of short-sightedness based on increased use of screens. (Insert your own political jokes.)
There are many ways to now play with voice-to-text for writing. Many phones and devices already contain tools. Google docs has its own built in voice-to-text tool that converts quite well. Apps and software like Naturally Speaking from Dragon software have been around for some time and continue to be perfected. The result of all of this technology is that writers can be untethered from their desks. It’s WRITERS IN THE WILD PEOPLE! Pet them at your own risk.
Summary of What We Know
So we know we should move, we should look away from our screens, we should write in the wild via notebook and even voice-to-text tools.
Food and Focus
I want to bring up another topic not often covered in writer’s health discussions. I tend to write in the morning, because of this, I never, ever, ever consume flour or sugar in the morning. I have noticed a definite change in my attention span, focus and energy level when I do. However I’ve noticed it has long lasting effects. As a result I have moved away from both ingredients as much as possible to be more productive and have more clarity in my work. While it may not be obvious in the beauty of my writing, that may come down to skill and be a different argument.
If you struggle with focus, with being able to jump into your work, or feel as though you just can’t sink into the type of thinking needed to write well, I recommend looking at your diet especially in the hours before writing. For those who give up sugar entirely, it takes from three days to two weeks to truly rid it from your system and for cravings to die down.
Some “studies” have concluded sugar is more addictive than heroin. That seems hard to believe. Because it’s sensationalist news and click bait. I hope you don’t know someone addicted to heroin. This comparison is naive and insulting. Sugar makes us have cravings, heroin destroys lives. Here’s a reasonable view. However, sugar isn’t good for us, it serves no nutritional purpose. It is a flavor that serves as a biological test of being able to identify consumable foods full of nutrients called “fruit.” Craving sugar? Eat whole fruit, not juice . . . and write!