Giving yourself a Writer Health Check is a great idea so you can continue to write and produce the best work possible.
Writing is both mentally and physically tiring, so check out the following points to optimise your creativeness.
Sitting in the same position for hours is never a good idea. When you’re writing and ‘in the zone’ it’s so easy to lose track of time.
Time your sessions including breaks
Set your timer for an hour at a time. Have a five minute break at the end of each hour to get up and walk around. Being locked in the same position for hours on end does the most damage to neck and shoulder muscles.
If you have a full day of writing take a proper lunch break and maybe a walk outside so that you’re fully refreshed when you get back to your work.
Invest in a good chair
Get yourself a fully adjustable chair, one where both back and seat moves position. Your arms should be at right angles (90%) and in a straight line over the keyboard, without a bend in your wrist.
Rather than sitting completely upright, it will put less strain on your back if you have the chair very slightly reclined. Your feet should be flat on the floor too, or on a footrest, if needed.
Screen and Keyboard
Try to look straight at the screen with your eyes cast slightly downward. Make sure you’re never looking up as this will put a strain on your neck and shoulders.
If you use a laptop, a separate keyboard will allow you to position it at the right distance from your eyes. This should be about an arm’s length, so that your fingers just reach the screen.
When you stare at a screen you blink less often so get your eyesight checked every year. Use eye-drops in the morning and evening if you get sore or gritty eyes.
Work Life Balance
Working for an employer, you are told what time to start, when to finish and when to have breaks. At home, you can do as you please, but setting yourself a proper structure will help enormously with productivity and a sense of achievement.
Timetable Your Writing
Timetable your writing, putting in start and finish times. Give yourself time off for completely non-writing activities. Things like days out with family and friends or just chilling out with a book or a movie.
If you are still working a day job, create a timetable that fits in with work and try it out, then adjust it if necessary.
Don’t burn yourself out
It’s amazing how quickly you can burn yourself out if you neglect your writer health.
In Agatha Christie’s autobiography she tells a story of the time she wrote a fifty thousand word book in three days flat. On the third day, a Monday, she sent an excuse to her place of work, so that she could continue with her story.
On finishing, she fell asleep for nearly twenty four hours straight through. Then she woke up, ate an enormous dinner and was able to go back to work the following day.
She recalls looking so peculiar that everyone was concerned. Agatha remembers her colleagues saying how she must have been really ill, as she had enormous circles under her eyes. It was only fatigue and exhaustion, but does illustrate how writing can take it out of you.
Regular meals, exercise and sleep
So, regular meals, some exercise and plenty of sleep are the things to aim for. Keeping a bottle of water handy when you are writing will ensure you keep yourself hydrated throughout the day.
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