Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The long slog

Writers are whiners by nature.  By far our favorite complaint is that we don't have enough time to write our novels: between bookstore/library visits, conferences, workshops, writing blogs and interviews, correcting proofs and making editorial changes...well, sometimes it feels that the true work of a writer is anything *but* writing. 

However...give an author a couple of weeks of full-time writing, and you'll hear us complain about getting precisely what we wished for:  "I'm tired of sitting at my computer.  I have a backache.  I have no new ideas..."

So here, for what it's worth, are a few tips I've come up with to stave off the mental and physical effects of the long slog at the computer:

1) Drink lots and lots of water.  This is good for your kidneys and skin and a number of other items...but it's also good at reminding you to stand up and move around every half hour or so (depending on bladder size)

2) If you find you're not standing up every half an hour or so (despite my water trick) set a timer -- I have a half-hour glass that I love.  Stand up and stretch, lift your arms over your head at the very least.  Even if you do no more than that, it's good for your circulation and your brain.

3) Do a few jumping jacks, or touch your toes...or if you live in a two-story house, climb the stairs a few times.  Anything to get the blood circulating.

4) Choose small projects (15-20 minutes) to do a few times a day. Clean out a drawer, do a little gardening.  If it's a bigger project, just make sure you can put it down and start up again without any trouble.  Lately I've been painting my ceiling, a patch at a time!

5) Take a real lunch/snack/tea break a few times a day, and if possible go OUTSIDE!  The sunshine or even cold air will invigorate you...a brisk walk is one of the best ways I've found to shake out new story ideas.

***And never forget to carry a tiny booklet or piece of paper and pen to jot down ideas!***

Any ideas you'd care to share?  I'm always looking!

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