I hope everyone had a beautiful, blessed, colourful, happy and safe Diwali celebration this weekend. Wishing you all many wonderful celebrations to come and always keep that smile intact on your face.
Recently, my post number was increased by the announcement of the release of my book, some random musings and book reviews. So basically, it’s been a while since I really targeted something and elaborated on it in my style as an article. So, here I am and I’ve decided to take on the health and fitness of writers today.
The art of writing anything consists of the writer choosing the perfect spot to let inspiration strike and let their fingers do the talking of whatever the mind and heart urges. So the job is sedentary and when the writer is lost in their own world, it’s a challenge for them to think about the span of hours spent of sitting in one place for a prolonged period of time or about any other necessity – exercise, food and sleep being the prime ones. Concentrating on your characters and plot with all the force the universe blesses you with is just what every author needs but the said author also needs their immune system and all other organs kept running at a smooth pace to aid them in accomplishing their dreams of writing all they wish to write about.
Everything will come crumbling down if one single organ in your body starts conspiring against you, right?
I don’t want that and neither do you.
All of us need to understand just how important fitness and health is, especially for sedentary workers like us. Tapping away on your laptop or scrawling away on that notebook all day shouldn’t be the only aim when it comes to the job. Calculate and analyse the other pros and cons that are to come with it. Look at the miracle God has blessed you with and plan out how you’re going to take good care of it alongside your dream job. Because remember that writing’s not the only activity we do.
Reading comes along with the package deal, whether it’s a hard copy or an E-Book. We’re planting ourselves in one place for a long time that way too, which doesn’t burn calories or induce physical health any more than while writing.
Disclaimer: I am not an expert in health and fitness. All these are coming out of personal perspectives and experiences, and all the suggestions made by me will work out for some people at the same time they don’t work out for others. Choose what works for you best, and please research on any queries you may have through other sources to get the answer you need or please consult your doctor.
That said, let’s now start off with the first targets we lot abuse.
Sleep and food.
If I ask the question of how many writers are insomniacs, I’ll see a large crowd of hands raising. The quietness of the night stimulates an insane amount of desire to write till our heart’s content and as a result, bed time delays till even three in the morning and after finally heading to sleep, we’ll get up only around nine or ten (in some cases eleven), which dulls other productivity for the day. Or since a lot of other writers are either working or studying, they’d have to get up early, which comes down to the fact you only get two to three hours of sleep.
With the alterations in your sleep pattern, sustenance patterns and nutrition supply gets affected as well. And is it spinach rice or vegetable soup or any other healthy snack we have cravings for in between writing and staying up? Nope, it’s chocolates, caffeine and junk food we covet instead. Don’t deny it.
Writing gives us a lot of cravings and with all of these empty calories making their way into our bodies while staying physically inactive, it’s a red alert. The settling of these unwanted toxins instigate unnecessary stress amalgamated with the stress that already originates from the vast thought process, endless imaginations, the strong urge to complete the book, OCD – Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and writer’s block.
Add lack of sleep both due to writing on your notebook and incessant viewing (which can cause eye burns) of electronic screens to type on the word document or promote yourself and your books on social media to the list, and we have a huge problem.
Don’t panic now.
All you need is a plan to prioritise yourself.
We all desire to live long to write so many stories, don’t we? So make that a strong base and allow that concern to come down to your body, looking upon it as your best friend rather than a robot or machine to abide to your wishes. Unless you flex yourself to it, it’s not going to flex itself to you.
The first question that’s probably going to pop inside your heads is: How do I accommodate a fitness regime into the tight schedule I’m going through?
If you look upon exercise as doing a job you despise or an obstacle to break the flow of writing or thought process, we’re not getting anywhere. Stimulate your attitude to the joys of workouts. You’d be surprised with the kind of amazing advantages, along with gifting a healthy body, exercise waits to bestow upon a writer.
First off, workouts eliminate the stress factor by so many degrees. Cardio exercise is an active form of meditating if you want to put it in another way. What do we do when we meditate? Take in deep breaths and concentrate on one particular focal point to relax the senses. It’s the same attraction for exercise, only so much better. Your lungs expand and contract to a vast level, kicking out whatever toxin is in your respiratory system, and it’s pretty much what you need to get over some distressing thought as you take in those deep breaths. Your heart rate increases and the blood that’s racing through your body pushes out unwanted waste from all of your cells in the form of sweat and through the same perspiration, your stress flies out of the window. I underline once again these are all personal experiences. Just like other writers out there, I face the cruelty of obsessive compulsive disorder, but the cross trainer or treadmill gives me a huge hand in lowering the power of the effect it wishes to torture me with to the minimum level. One and a half hours straight on cardio with the speaker turned to a high volume, and I get down with a huge smile on my face. As a result, the obnoxious phase gets walloped away in a matter of two or three days.
Secondly, exercise is a huge stimulation to the brain. I’m a non-caffeinated author. I drink coffee only once or twice a year to be exact (No, I’m not kidding) and a lot of people have taken me for being one of those authors who prefers steaming mugs of coffee or tea to be depended upon for activating my creative neurons, but no they are not, and I haven’t ever tested the theory nor do I plan to. The workouts supply all the activation I need. That’s really where I get inspiration. With the music, either Taylor Swift or movie soundtracks, playing in the background, my thoughts immediately direct to my plot and so many ideas come demanding for my attention. The workouts induce strong memory power as well so when I go through the recently played list on my Google music as I sit myself down on my desk, I remember which song inspired which scene and it helps me to note all of them down.
Thirdly, exercise helps you to sleep properly. How many times have we fallen onto our beds and just stared at the ceiling because sleep refuses to embrace us in its peace? With most of your stress killed, pleasant thoughts planted back into your mind and your heart pulsing healthily, your systems are working properly and it’s much easier for you to fall asleep. Ten or eleven is the maximum you feel like staying up and you start becoming drowsy, perfectly prepared to hug your blanket. And when you sleep early, you get up early, fresh to continue from where you left off. As we all love the quietness of the night, you’d find it easy to get up at four or five in the morning and write in the blessed early hours with no disturbance. Go to sleep by nine or ten. Fix seven hours for your sleep and wake up early. I used to prefer writing at midnight and changing my sleep routine, which tampered with everything else the next day, but now I have changed my module and found this is quite amazing. Health is secured and you get the job done much better.
Can you see the wondrous ways exercise blesses you with?
The next question that naturally originates is: So what kind of exercise can I do?
I have already made a general post on health and fitness, proper diet, and the kind of exercises we can do, you can check it out here. Remember to always do what works out for you best.
We writers should take care of our eyes too. Spending too much time on the computer, laptop, phone or whatever else gadget you use to write or go online can affect your retinas and once it’s damaged, nothing can be done to recover it. Preserve the blessing you have. If you have social media profiles, minimise the amount of time you spend on it. When you’re writing, do it on your notebook with a pen you like. I have this white diary and use a purple ballpoint pen to write and after four or five days, I open my laptop to type it all down. It also helps to edit your story too. As you type it out, you get ideas to modify a sentence or an entire scene, in a trouble less way. And try not to look at the screen before bed-time, as it also plays a role in preventing you from falling asleep quickly. The brightness of it tricks your brain into thinking it’s still day and it won’t go to sleep.
Another important thing is, just because you exercise, it doesn’t mean you have the liberty to sit around after that. No. Every hour or so, get up and walk about your house. Or do some chores that are waiting for you, dish washing, laundry, cleaning, whatever. Don’t sit for a long time. Stretch your muscles and back and go do something active for a few minutes before resuming your story.
My kind request is that please don’t ever say you don’t have time to incorporate health and fitness in your schedule. We’re talking about the long run here, not just your well being at the moment. You may feel like ‘I’m all right now, what’s going to happen to me? I’m doing just fine. What’s with this girl rambling on and on?’
It’s wrong to think your body’s going to be the same always. You’re putting yourself more and more at risk with a bad diet, improper sleep and lack of exercise. We have so many beautiful stories to tell to the world, so many ideas are ready to inspire us, and we should be in ship shape to do all of that. And it’s not just us to be concerned about. We have our family and future family to think about, so please think twice before giving into the impulse of the moment.
Every author has different schedules, because we’re all either full time writers, working writers or studying writers. Plan out your fitness regime according to what goes well with your schedules and make sure you stick to it. You alone know what works for you best. So do it and let’s all be healthy and happy authors!
Jai Shree Krishna
To check out the first installment of my new fantasy mythological saga, Ethereal: The Dawn of the Blue, please click here.