Sometimes it’s hard to get started on writing. You sit and stare at the blank screen or you’ll get up and wash the dishes or take that shower you meant to take three days ago. Your best ideas come in the shower anyway, right?
On the other hand, you can begin writing and get into the groove with it. You can sitting at your computer for hours typing out words, brainstorming ideas, or setting up marketing plans. Whether you’re writing creatively, for a blog, researching, or what have you – it can be hard to snap back into the world around you.
As a writer, you need to keep moving. You need to peel your eyes away from the glowing screen from time to time. Stretch your legs. Arch your back. Let your butt relax.
This is difficult to remember, especially if you work from home and have very little distractions during the day. However, there are more distractions than you think and some of them you should pay attention to.
Give your pet(s) some attention.
If the dog is barking or the cat begins climbing up your leg, maybe it’s time to give them some attention. Save your work and leave your seat. Throw a ball around with the dog. Play with her. Take her for a walk. Unless it’s winter, then don’t bother to go outside. Play until the dog gets tired and doesn’t feel like playing anymore. Or just play for 15-20 minutes. It’ll give your pets some love and you’ll be able to get up and moving. Chances are, when you get back to work, the cat will be curled up on your desk chair.
Take a walk.
This one is kind of obvious. With or without the dog, go for a walk around your neighborhood. The air will feel refreshing and the sun will make you happy. Plus, there might be a neighbor or two out that you can chit-chat with. Either take a walk with them or just say hi and make small talk. I know we all shy away from socializing of any kind unless it’s on the Internet but trust me – real people can make you feel good.
Have a workout routine.
This doesn’t need to be anything fancy. I personally watch a couple of YouTube videos. The trainer keeps me company and, when I learn the routine myself, I put on some good music or a different YouTube video to watch and keep me company. This will wake up your body and get you moving and stretching before you decide to sit back down at the computer and work for a few more hours. If you have the money and want an excuse to get out of the house, join a gym and go there for a hour a couple times a week.
Get some chores done.
There’s a lot jokes about writers and how they forget to shower and do the dishes. I mean, I kind of made a shower joke at the beginning of this post. The sad thing is, it’s true. I’ve actually forgotten to take a shower because I keep telling myself, “just one more thing on the to-do list.” Then I need to tell my sister, “I call dibs on the shower in the morning because I haven’t taken one since Monday… and it’s Thursday.” Good thing I work from home, huh? But showering is one thing. You can vacuum, do the dishes, clean the fish tank, anything. As long as you’re up, moving, and away from the computer screen, it works. Not to mention, you’ll get a clean house out of it too.
Seriously, if you work from home and everyone else is at their own respective jobs out of the house – blast that music and bust a move. This may seem like kind of a random option, but this job is overwhelming. It’s stressful. Dancing and listening to loud music will relieve some of that. It’ll make you feel good, crack a smile, and have fun. It’s a great break from the computer and it’ll get your body moving. It’s doesn’t matter if you can dance or not – just pick up the dog or cat (provided they don’t run from you) and start dancing.
Block your time.
There’s always so much to do and it never seems like there’s enough hours in the day. Blocking your time throughout the day – meaning a schedule or routine – is a great way to make sure you get your work done but also have some time to yourself. Tell yourself you’ll only work from nine in the morning until noon. Then you’ll take a lunch and do other things for a while. Maybe you can get back to work again after dinner and write for another hour or two to end the night. Not only will you not be stuck in front of the computer all day, but you’ll train your brain to get into a creative mode at certain times.
Make to-do lists.
Don’t give yourself too much to do during one day, but making a to-do list should help you keep track of what you need to get done, what you want to get done, and also spread out your day a bit. Add three writing tasks on the list as well as a couple of chores that should get done. Alternate between writing and the other tasks to get yourself up and moving. Unless something is time sensitive or you’re on a roll, then get it all done in a clump. Still, make sure you find the time to move.
Try not to sit for longer than an hour or two. Sure, there are a lot of blog posts to write and you need to write the ending to your novel, but there will be time for that. Take frequent breaks in between the work. Not only will your body thank you, but your mind will as well.
Take a day off.
If I can, I always try to take Fridays off. I don’t typically go on my computer in the morning. This is the day I catch up on reading, video games, and clean the whole house. I try not to let my mind think too much. It’s always a long week filled with work, writing, family, and friends that I try to take Fridays mornings (while everyone else is at work) to myself. No emails, no social media (for the most part). I also use this day to run any errands I may have too. I’ll admit, sometimes I find myself doing things on Fridays, but it’s not as much as I would during the other days. Taking a whole day off is great and it’s needed.
About The Healthy Writer Series
At the beginning of the month, I mentioned a couple new features coming to the blog. Healthy Writer is one them. I’ve been working from home for almost two years now and it’s still hard to find that balance to between work and life, between sitting and standing, between staring at the computer screen and getting up and moving. I wanted to talk a little more about this since it’s something I need to work on and I’m sure there are other writers out there who could work on it as well.
This series will be posted once a month with various advice and experiences about keeping yourself healthy physically and mentally while we all work creatively. I hope you guys enjoy it.