Habit 7.1: Sharpening the Physical Saw

As writers, we’ve all heard the mantra: Butt In Chair.  Or, if you want to be all highbrow about it: Glutonus en Chairus. And, by now, you all probably know my mantra: Balance, balance balance.

A little physical activity is a good thing, especially when you’re either a) fighting the Infernal Editor over a block in the writing road, or b) you’ve been writing hotter than a Ferrari on its highest setting. It’s good to walk away sometimes, lest something burn out and go clunk. Odds are anything going clunk will be your trunk, because it’s been buried flat in sweaty, fake leather for hours at a time.

Now, I’m not saying we need to start out running seventeen miles a day at speed, followed by a full out collapse in a gasping heap. What I’m saying is, get some air. Walk around a bit. Drink some water. Put on some music (not the telly) and do some laundry or dishes or something, and give the subconscious mind some breathing space. The gray matters are a muscle, and before it can stretch it needs to breathe.

Writers aren’t always the healthiest of eaters, spending so much time with our butts in chairs as we do. We’re more convenient eaters. Me, I cook all sorts of stuff I don’t actually eat. Fortunately, the tech monkey is a master of kitchen regions. Unfortunately, he’s, well, a master of the kitchen regions. It’s rather like living with Malto Mario. Too much yum for two people, and there’s no such thing at portion control because that would ruin the presentation. Also, the YUM.

I think we’ve established that the best way to meet goals on a regular basis and transform them into glorious routine is to start small.

What is the one thing we can do as people, and as writers, we can do on a weekly basis (that we’re not currently doing), on a physical level? Start small. Me, I know I could stand to drink more water. I am a fiend for the coffee. OMG you guys the COFFEE. So many blends, so little time. I love the smell. I love the taste. I love tagging the bottom of my twenty-ounce monster soup mug with whipped cream and pouring the coffee on top. *drool*


The problem is, for me, that water is fairly low on the yum quotient. As in, non-existent. So, carrying the “drink more water” referendum a bit further, what can I do to raise the yum? What can I do to make drinking water a treat worth having? I can flavor it with all those little wunnferful flavor packets. Some of them even have added vitamins or metabolism boosters. Maybe I can even manage to make water taste like cocktails? Ooooooo . . . o_O

As a writer, I need to peel my glutonus maximus (emphasis on the glut and the max) from my chair a little more often. And not just to shift it to another chair in another room. I need to get my body in gear and give my creative mind a little breathing room. Also, I can stand demoting some of the out of control gourmet portions to leftover duty. The Spice does not necessarily need to flow quite so generously. Once I get the dietary needs under control, I can start adding some light workouts on the Wii, and take it from there. It’s best to let the body adjust and conditioned.

Here are some other ideas straight from Franklin Covey:

  • Get the amount of sleep your body needs.
  • Call your doctor and make an appointment for a physical.
  • Set health and fitness goals.
  • Set a balanced diet. (Nevermind the latest diet craze. Balance!) Also, the water.
  • Ensure your exercise routine is not one-dimensional. Include flexibility, strength, and cardio

We need all these things as people. As writers, we need to peel our butts from our chairs once and awhile, to let the creative spice flow.

Next Time: Habit 7.2–Social/Emotional


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