Successful writers agree on only one thing – writers must write every day. Not talk about, dream about, or study about writing. Write. Daily word or page goals are encouraged.
The downside to the advice “Put butt in chair and write” is that sitting is the new smoking. Our bodies take a beating from a sedentary life. Writers get sore shoulders, arms, hands, neck, and back, and suffer from a condition called Chair Butt. That’s what I call it, anyway. Writers can struggle with serious coffee and chocolate addictions, as well.
When I first started writing daily I suffered from severe hamstring and lower back issues. Breaks every 30 minutes and exercise keep the pain at bay.
Breaks are good for more than physical health. I have a hard time concentrating for a long time and mindlessly staring at my screen can be counter-productive. I break in the middle of a good part so I can pick up where I left off.
I can’t ignore the family and house even though I might want to. I’m currently setting a record for how long I can go without dusting. We might have to wear breathing masks soon.
Last week I broke up my writing by doing a few ridiculous things.
1. Made Barbie Sushi
Why yes, I still have my Barbies, don’t you?
They’re for my grandkids, kinda’, sorta’, but maybe not really. This cute pair of earrings from the thrift store became sushi for my Malibu Ken in five minutes.
Expressing artistic creativity in other areas inspires my writing.
2. Matched all my Socks
I’ve never solved the mystery of where socks go when they run away, but I shove them in my drawer unmatched when I’m in a hurry.
During busy times I let some things go. Even though I’m recovering from OCD unorganization can nag like a dripping faucet. Eventually, when the load lessens, I go back and realign my world.
3. Took Pictures of My Bathroom
Wait, you don’t take pictures of your bathroom? That’s kinda’ weird.
I purchased the plate in a charity shop (thrift shop) in London about two years ago. I found a picture-hanging doo-dad and it lived on the kitchen counter for over a week. When I got stumped in my plot, I dug a push-pin out of the junk drawer and hung the plate in less than two minutes. I waited two years to accomplish a small task, but it felt so good.
Satisfaction from completing another small job inspires my writing.
4. Scoured My Sink
I have a mental list of silly things I haven’t done around the house in a year. When I start getting achy or sore, my stretch time will include crossing off another long-ignored project.
5. Yardsticked Under Washer and Dryer
When I don’t have time to pull them out and clean, I flick a yardstick underneath to retrieve all hibernating money, dust bunnies, buttons, broken pieces of glass, and hair ties.
6. Photographed To-Do List
Hey, this was amazing! If you’re Type A, you’ll feel my thrill.
I crossed everything off my list. Everything! It demanded to be captured for posterity.
When I accomplish family tasks, it removes the guilt of ignoring them later when I write.
7. Ran on Scenic Routes
Exercise is a necessary evil. When my 12 years of thyroid cancer was followed by an osteoporosis diagnosis, I started exercising. I like being outside and don’t want to workout with spandex chiseled bodies. Running and writing are my two priorities each day. My hashtag is #kickingcancersbuttback.
8. Purged Ruffled Shirts
Apparently, I went through a pirate stage.
When I started attending meetings and conferences for writers I had to buy adult clothes. I went to my first conference in hand-me-down jeans from my daughter and a pair of sandals that had $3.99 written on the bottom in marker. I’m still clothes-shopping challenged.
Now I can buy more writerly looking clothes.
9. Peeled Gold off my Shoes
I bought awesome gold shoes for my son’s September wedding.
After wearing a few times, the gold started peeling off and I couldn’t return them. Since writers don’t make a lot of money, especially, when they’re peeling shoes instead of writing, I did what any miser would do, I kept peeling. They’re now beige with sparkles.
10. Took Daughter Shopping
She is a well-behaved teenager that functions well in society.
Kids are inspiring and refreshing. They see the world through different eyes, not the eyes of tax-paying, shoulder-aching adults. Giggling about ridiculous things and answering more questions than when she was a toddler is inspiring. Sometimes we see a random person doing something unusual and we plot a story around them. Sometimes we notice cute boys. Not often, just sometimes.
Daily family time is crucial. We we’ll never regret investing time in them.
Women daily choose how to invest their time and energy. We discern when to put ourselves aside, and when to put ourselves on the calendar. We struggle to know when to work and when to play.
As a writer, my work is my play and my play is my work.
I love writing so much I could kill myself by sitting in a chair for hours every day. By not writing and doing creative, healthy, and organizational things, I help my writing. But, the butt always goes back in the chair.
Because writers write.