So, I can might have noticed from the time stamp, I’m late with this post. And it’s not for lack of trying. Eleven (!!) times I’ve started and ultimately erased the draft for this thing.
Any advice I could have given has been said. And even so, I don’t really have a lot of advice to give. I’m not in the best of health myself–and yeah, I’ve been making strides in my own life to try to get healthier but still. I’m actually still a pretty unhealthy person. I barely exercise. I’ve only just now managed to get my eating under some semblance of control, and even then I can go days between eating anything green or vaguely vegetable-like.
I know what I should be doing. I should be getting up in the morning to do some cardio or lift weights or whatever. I should be eating …. what is it now? Two servings of greens and two servings of fruit? Three and two? Four and three? Man, I don’t even know anymore. Definitely more vegetables should be happening in my diet, is my point.
About the only thing I’m even relatively proud of is that I did almost sort of cut out sugar from my diet. Except for that birthday cake this weekend. And the pumpkin bread last night. And the sugar I put in my daily, usually multiple, cups of coffee.
I could talk about how my writing and my emotional state (my mental health) form an interlocking and interdependent superstructure in my psyche, but. . . Well, I’ve already written that post. (Maybe from multiple angles.)
Instead today I’ll talk a little about the way my writing and my physical health interlock – which is not always such a positive foundation.
My physical health can be a tricky thing to quantify (but isn’t it that way for many people? health isn’t so straightforward as we might like, I think) from the easily-labelled (anaemia, RAD, hypotension and hypoglycaemia that when layered cause dizziness and fainting spells, old injuries, etc.) to the mysterious (trouble under direct summer sunlight, overly ‘stretchy’ tendons and slightly flexible bones, ‘migraines’ that black out my vision with no pain, systemic problems rooted in what could be an immune disorder, etc.). Sitting around for long periods is hard on even a healthy body! With one a little more banged up? Well. . . Continue reading
I’ve never been properly, officially diagnosed with any sort of mental illness, but let’s just say that I’m well aware my emotions and sometimes coping habits range outside of the norm. This makes it very, very easy to get “stuck” in a non-productive, unhealthy mental state. We’re talking about more than “I had a bad day at work” stuck. We’re talking about sitting in the bath tub crying because you are vividly imagining the aftermath of the deaths of everyone you know and you can’t stop. There’s no ‘off’ button once the process starts. Sounds fun, right? Thankfully it’s not something I deal with all the time.
The emotional rabbit hole is deep. It’s deep enough on the good days, extra deep on the bad days, and when you’re a writer who delves into the emotional for a (hopefully one day) living? We’re talking black hole deep if you aren’t careful.
Over the last several years I have learned to twist this toward my advantage. Several of my poems deal with some extra sticky (think big, fluffy, stab-you-in-the-leg-when-you-walk-through-it field of burrs sticky) memories. Things I have lost sleep over. Things I could have filled a bathtub with tears over. Things that to this day make me feel like a chunk of my insides are missing. And yet I write. Continue reading
About four years ago, I came to the conclusion that I really, really needed to start exercising. I’m a web developer, so I sit in front of a computer all day. And then I like to write, so I sit in front of my computer all night. I knew it wasn’t healthy for me to be stationary all day, I knew I wasn’t eating as well as I should’ve, and so finally I hit the moment that was “I have to do something about this.”
It wasn’t like something big or horrible happened. It was just the slow realization that if I continued as I was, in a few years, I wouldn’t be very happy with how I looked or how I felt, and my risks for a number of diseases that run in my family would skyrocket. And the longer it took me to get started on a healthier lifestyle, the harder it would be for me to stick with it when I finally got there.
For years I’d had a goal like “lose 10 pounds” or whatever as one of my New Year’s resolutions, and for years, I’d never hit it. That year, I switched it up to “work out at LEAST 3 days a week.” I figured I would see if I could stick to a 3-day-a-week plan, and if so, I’d bump it up to 5 days for the next year. Even if I didn’t lose any weight, at least I would be building the habit of being active on a regular basis, and that could only be good, right?
‘Brain fog’ is not considered to be a medical condition in and of itself, but the medical community has begun to recognize its affect in recent years.
So what is brain fog?
Writing is not easy on us – either mentally, or physically.
Depending on the type of content we write, it can mess with our mood and put us in a strange sort of head space where our characters are more real than anything else – and that’s not always a good thing. The act of writing can also inadvertently dig things up from our past, things we didn’t realize still needed to be dealt with, if we even knew about it at all.
And those hours we spend staring at an artificially lit computer screen, hunched over a keyboard, pounding away until our fingers and wrists ache. And our heads ache. Because we weren’t made to stare at a computer screen only inches away from our face all. day. long.
But we do.
And we forget to eat. Or we get so busy with a story that we simply decide not to eat because it’s always “I just need to get this last thought onto paper.” And that thought grows and grows and grows… and suddenly it’s been five hours.
This isn’t even taking actual illness – chronic or acute – into consideration, because we writers think we’re immortal because of our words. Sadly, our bodies don’t work that way, either.
And so we need to counter the abuse we put our bodies and minds through.
That’s what “The Writer’s Pursuit of Health” is going to tackle, starting next week. Stay tuned!
It’s back to school shopping and sale time, which is a very tempting time for writers and for any people who love the feeling of illusory productivity that one can find browsing amongst those items.
I happen to fall into both those categories, though I usually manage to restrain myself fairly well in the back to school sales. That is, mainly to things I actually need – or want – and will eventually use.
My bright and shiny new highlighters!
I picked up a pack of highlighters recently. Note: I don’t really use highlighters. I needed a couple (in different colours) to highlight details more obviously in a proof I was submitting with some paperwork earlier this year and I had to search my house to find any. I finally did, then finally located some that worked in that assortment (one of which was mine, the other two ones my mother used) and got my project done.
It was the first time I’d used a highlighter in probably at least six years, possibly longer. So clearly picking up a pack of highlighters, however pretty – and these are pretty shiny – was the most productive purchase I could have made, right?
(Well, I have needed highlighters this year, several times, weird as that is, and using the mostly-dead ones has really not been that fun. So there’s a smidgen of justification.)
The other justification is . . . I am embarking on an outlining project.
I am embarking on an outlining project. A big one. You may recall, I don’t outline. I’m not very good at it, and it tends not to work out for the best for me as I write even if I struggle through creating one.
I started writing a comic about this time last year, and since then I’ve managed to not only finalize the script but actually start getting pages drawn and posted. And even though it’s been a year, I have learned a lot. Mostly by learning from my mistakes.
The first thing to realize with scripting is that, even though you’re still putting words on a page, is that the script isn’t the final product. In this case, the comic is. But this is also true for scripts for film or stage or games. Unlike writing short stories or novels, where the words and how they appear on the page are the final product, the script is just a stepping stone. Continue reading
How often do you fill out the guestbook when you stay somewhere away from home?
Click me to read full entry!
Many people may shy away from filling out the guestbook simply because they aren’t sure what to write. If you clam up when it comes to words, at least jotting down where you came from and what brought you to your current location will be appreciated by the guestbook owner!
As writers (and generally goofy people) we have a lot of fun taking our guestbook entries one step further. For example, instead of saying “the goats were cute, but the bugs sucked” in this entry from our stay at Horseshoe Canyon Ranch, we opened with, “We were much pleased with the use of goats in your meadow; the use of bugs, however, left something to be desired. (With the exception of the Lunar Moth package we received.)” Continue reading
Have you wanted to try National Novel Writing Month, but honestly the idea of trying to write a novel in November just seems too overwhelming with all the holidays?
Or you’d like to try it, but the 50,000 word mark seems impossible to hit for someone who writes primarily short things?
Or do you just miss the word count goals, tracking, and overall productivity and encouragement from NaNo?
Then it might be time to give Camp NaNoWriMo a try.