Two weeks ago, I started my blog series on summer goals by talking about writing goals–or at least, by talking about a few of mine. And while I think it’s important not to slavishly apply another author’s goals to your life without first taking into account the very important fact that you probably live very different lives and face very different challenges. Which is why, in the end, the goals I shared were both few and fairly general:
- Write, and
- Structure my writing … loosely.
Anything more specific would automatically render my goals into something else: A how-to guide for success at writing that assumes every author shares the same background and experiences, the same struggles and schedule…and the same lifestyle.
This last point provided a segwey into the second post in this series. Last week, I talked about energy and energy budgets–how we wake up each moment with a finite amount of the stuff and have to use it and conserve it much as we do other finite resources. That is, with care and restraint, with an eye for treating our bodies well.
Which brings me to today’s topic:
A Writer’s Lifestyle
And look, this is dangerous territory as well. I couldn’t possibly project my own lifestyle onto yours without recognizing that A) you’re a very different human being, that B) I am not exactly anywhere near perfect myself, and that C) there are a million different ways to live healthy lives, and claiming any one of those ways is the *BEST* or *THE ONLY* way is in fact a complete and utter lie. A tabloid-worthy lie.
Bear with me a moment:
Let’s consider for a second what might happen if we try to be authors out of the context of our bodies–if we, like Plato and many of the Ancient Greeks, divorce the workings of the human mind and the human body. We can try to perfect each of these things separately from the other, but our minds and our bodies make up parts of a whole–and neuroscience is constantly revealing just how interconnected the mind’s activities and the brain’s physical structure are, and if we place work of an author within the realm of the mind then we must also recognize that it is affected by the physical structures of the brain, which are in turn affected by the other physical structures of the body.
Conclusion: If we don’t keep our bodies healthy, our writing will suffer.
Common sense, right? Healthy body >> healthy brain >> healthy mind >> healthy work.
The real struggle is how to get there, and how to sift through the tabloids and the magazines and the blogs and the Pinterest boards and the well-intentioned advice we’re constantly stumbling into. And as a woman, I also have to recognize that it’s easy to confuse “beauty standards” advice with “health and wellness” advice. But those two things are not the same. Attaining 18-inch waist isn’t the same thing as eating right and eating food that feeds the brain, for example. But low-impact activity three to five times a week–say, walking down to the park or mowing the lawn–is a great way to stimulate brain and body alike. Anything that gets your heart rate up, gets you breathing, and breaks up the monotony of sitting at home.
Three things show up as common threads to every respectable writer’s advice column when it comes to lifestyle:
- eating well
- sleeping well
- getting out and about
If any one of these components presents a challenge for you, it may be time to try something new. Play around with integrating more protein-rich foods into your diet, like avocado and pinto beans. Move things around in your schedule for a week or two to try out some new sleep hygiene habits or some new activities out and around the neighborhood. Nothing dramatic–nothing drastic–just a little short-term experiment. You’ll find out pretty quickly if one of these changes is sustainable and makes a difference to your writing. I promise!
You are not alone. ♣︎
|ABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 18 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, pre-production specialists, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.|