Hello everyone! I’m sorry about the absence of…well, anything. I could give you excuses (like I always do) but that excuse is always going to be “work” so there’s really no point.
Today I wanted to talk about four things that I do to help keep my mind sane.
1) Don’t Skip Breakfast
I know that it’s tempting to want to just run out the door, hit the coffee shop before work, and then down buckets of coffee in your lonely cubicle but that’s not the healthiest practice. Making time to just sit at the table and have a nice, healthy breakfast is beneficial in many ways.
I know what you’re thinking, “What does this have to do with writing?”
Well, breakfast-at-the-table time is a great time to plan your day. You know what you can do then? Work “fiction time” into your schedule. It’s important and writing it down helps to cement that into your brain. Block out an hour a day to sit in front of your computer and work on that novel. If you don’t have that much free time, write down your task list and schedule (hour by hour), then highlight the times where you can work in a bit of writing time: on the bus-ride to work, while you’re waiting in the DMV office, while you’re waiting for the pot of water to boil for dinner, etc.
Keep a notebook with you at all times, that way you will always be able to work in a few words during the day.
Not only that, breakfast helps kick start your metabolism and your brain so that you won’t sit down in front of your computer and write “alsdkfjla lajfl s slajlsa fjl e lsjflsjfel peanut butter meatloaf…”
2) Drink More Water
You need something in your system to counter all of that coffee (which is incredibly dehydrating). Staying hydrated keeps your mind sharp and will blow away all of that “brain fog”. If you’re a writer, I’m sure that you’ve had those moments before.
I keep a bottle of water on my desk, next to my laptop. Whenever I see the bottle out of the corner of my eye or if I notice it at all, I take a drink. It doesn’t matter if I feel thirsty, I just drink. This small practice helps me drink more water.
3) Read More
Reading is one of the most important parts of a writer’s life. In order to create good books, you have to read good books. And bad ones. And “meh” ones too. Read everything that you can get your hands on. Try different genres. Try different authors. Read until you’re so full of words, that you need to go to bed before your mind explodes (we’ve all had those days too, amirite?) Speaking of going to bed…
4) Sleep More
Getting the right amount of sleep is important for everyone. That number fluctuates depending on who you are so you need to find the right amount for you. For me, I know that I can’t really function on four hours of sleep. My mind goes all foggy when the coffee wears off. Somewhere between six and seven hours is my perfect number. I can get up in the morning, get a couple of decent work ours in before I have to reach for my first cup of coffee. I still go through the 2PM slump, but a brisk walk or another cup of coffee helps me power through it, no problem.
EXTRA BONUS TIP #5) Write More
You should have all seen that coming. In order to become a better writer, you need practice. I don’t just mean, to be a novelist you have to practice by writing lots of novels. That is important but you should also practice by trying out different forms.
Writing short stories and flash fiction helps you learn how to be more concise and helps strengthen & tighten your word choice.
Writing poetry helps your flow and your rhythm.
Writing scripts and screenplays helps you harness the power of dialogue.
There are many other types of prose and many other benefits to them. You just have to go find them yourself.
So go write, wordsmiths! And also grab a bottle of water and a good book. And some oatmeal. And coffee… *grabs my coffee mug*
Now it’s your turn. What suggestions do you have for your fellow wordsmiths? What tips can you share?