Monday, September 24, 2012

Is Writing Hazardous to Your Health?

Is Writing Hazardous to Your Health?

(And if it is, what you can do about it.)

Stress, inactivity, and a diet lacking in the proper nutrients, are three culprits often blamed for making any number of diseases worse, and even making us vulnerable to them in the first place.
            As writers, we hit the trifecta of bad health habits every day! We sit in front of our computers for hours, neglect healthy eating habits, and are in constant angst with a plethora of stressors: writing a certain amount a day, finishing our projects, formatting them, proofing them, marketing our wares.
            We need to be alert to these dangers and find ways to take care of ourselves. It’s difficult to focus on good writing if you’re feeling rotten.
Some ways to take care of yourself:
1.     Build time into your schedule for exercise. Find something you enjoy, (I recommend walking. Preferably with a dog!), and build time into your schedule for it every day.
2.     Drink at least 8 glasses of water daily. I know, then you’ll have to get up and pee a lot, but that short trip to the bathroom will give your circulation time to regroup.
3.     Set a timer for every 30 minutes. Stand up and do something that takes your eyes off the computer screen and moves your body. If it helps, have a list of things other than writing you can fit in.
4.     While sitting, routinely move your legs and stretch your arms. There are lots of “chair exercises” available online. Find a few you can do while writing and add them to you goal list. If money is no object, look into the new treadmills with computer stands.
5.     Get in the habit of taking deep breaths, the kind from your abdomen up, at least five an hour while you’re sitting.
6.     Most writers’ stress comes from the feeling of being overwhelmed with all the things we need to do in a day. Use goal setting to keep on track, and refer to it often. It’ll keep procrastination to a minimum, and you’ll get those projects done with a lot less stress.
7.     Make sure to get enough sleep! Try to stay on a consistent, seven to eight hours sleep a night schedule. Resist the lure of writing into the wee hours of the night unless you have enough time to make up for it the following day.
8.     Don’t overlook fun! Make time for your loved ones and the things you enjoy doing. Especially those things that keep you active.
9.     Keep your kitchen stocked with healthy snacks you can enjoy at your desk. I understand it’s a lot more gratifying to grab a bag of chips, a quick cookie, or a candy bar, but remember the nutrients in one banana will keep your brain functioning at peak for hours!
10. Give yourself a pat on the back. Get out of the habit of negative thinking. When you find that you’re beating up on yourself, take a minute and write down all the positive things you’ve accomplished.

Dear readers,
I so enjoy receiving your comments. Add your blog info when you comment, so I can visit your site, too.
            Being over fifty, I find these tips even more critical and wanted to share them with you. I talked about goal setting last week, and I’d advise adding some of these to your list. The great thing about writing for us older authors is it’s something we can do even from a wheelchair or a bed! But we don’t want to rush ourselves to that point, do we? So let’s stay aware of our needs while we work at our writing. It pays off!
Thanks for stopping by,

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Magic Tip


Is it really magic? No, it’s not magic and its simplicity will amaze you. Use goal-setting habits to maintain an awareness of where you’re going in your writing and what needs to be done.
            When I was writing my first novel, I had a copy of Walter Mosley’s This Year You Write Your Novel, and used its advice to get my book finished. Mosley advocates writing a certain amount every day no matter what—set a number of words, stick to it, and your novel will be done in under a year.  Did it work for me? Not in a year, but I went on to complete the novel and had it for sale on Amazon within three years. My second novel, soon to be published, took a little more than a year.
            There is no magic. There are no secrets. It takes discipline and hard work to complete a novel. Setting goals for your writing can help make it happen.
1.    Long-term goals. These are what keep you going. Without that long-term dream to be a published writer, it won’t happen. Write down your goals for the year and look at them often.
2.    Short-term goals. These keep you writing and are critical in avoiding things like writer’s block and the blahs. I find weekly goals the most useful and make them realistic based on how many things non-related to writing I might have to attend to that week. An example of weekly goals might be:
- Write at least a page a day.
- Keep up the outline for my novel
- Put in at least two review or interview requests
- Do my weekly blog.
- Spend 30 minutes keeping up on Twitter.
Put your weekly goals on an index card and prop it up on your computer where you won’t be able ignore it.
3.    Daily goals. Daily goals are great on days when you have a lot to accomplish. Fit in your writing needs for the day and check off things as you finish them. Be sure to leave your list where you can see it!

Dear Readers,
I’m getting ready to leave for a few days and I’m contemplating whether to take my computer along or leave it  behind and forget about writing and marketing for three days. Maybe I need “trip” goals!
Thanks for stopping by and have a great week,


Monday, September 10, 2012

Looking for Readers?

Looking for Readers?

Don’t forget Authors

The rank and file of authors is growing daily as self-publishing continues to rise in popularity and acceptance. Every day there are new posts telling writers how to connect with readers and how to find their target audience.
I think we forget to look in our own backyard for some of the best readers to acquire—other authors.
            "But, Marla," you argue, "we’re in 'competition' with other authors."
Are we, really? Some things to consider:
1.     All authors are readers. If you read author interviews, you’ll discover the one thing we all have in common is a love of books. Loving books  includes reading!
2.     Authors leave Reviews for the books they read.
3.     An author review, even if it isn’t a five-star, glowing report, will be realistic, and criticism will be constructive.
4.     Yes, we’re all looking for a piece of the pie, but the pie is duplicating itself at wildly exponential rates. The number of Kindle readers alone are in the millions. Add to those numbers, users of Ipads and other device readers, including the latest craze, reading on a mobile device, and the number triples. There’re plenty of readers to go around, and many of them are new readers who are looking for new authors.
5.     Follow and friend other authors, especially those that write in your genre. The payoff may surprise you!

Dear followers,
It was a wonderful feeling to hear from so many of you who responded to my two blogs aimed at older authors. Comforting to know I have so much company!
            Writing is a lonely profession. Meeting others with the same goals and interests makes it less so!
Happy to meet all of you,