It’s summer. It’s been summer for about a month now. The weather is warm, the sun is shining (mostly – it’s been raining a lot where I am). It’s time to take advantage of the season and take it outside.
Take It Outside
As writers, we’re always on the computer. I know there are quite a few people who prefer pen to paper, but most likely we’re typing something up. Not to mention, a lot of us writers are also bloggers or on some form of social media. We’re on our phone or tablet and constantly getting work done. This is something that I’ve been learning to take a step back from since it’s taken a toll on my mental health.
Have you ever heard of seasonal depression? I’m not diagnosed with depression, just generalized anxiety disorder. However, the two can go hand in hand and there are definitely some days where I feel like I do have depression. I definitely get it the most during the winter. Snowfall is lovely as are putting on fire in the fireplace, but I’m not a fan of the cold and dreariness of it all. I also feel so much better and more like myself when the sun comes out and the weather is warm.
So, this is why I say to take it outside. Take advantage of the sun and warm weather while you can. The winter is a nice excuse to stay inside on the computer all day, but you still need some fresh air once in a while.
Sitting On The Deck
If there’s anything I’ve learned about writing, it’s that a nice change of scenery can go a long way. I love to sit outside on my deck with a pen and notebook. Or sometimes I bring my iPad, laptop, or a book. It all depends on what work I need to get done that day.
The deck is a great place in my backyard because it’s quiet (for the most part) but private. The umbrella is big enough to keep me shaded or I can move it around for myself to sit in the sun. It’s a peaceful place overall.
By The Pool
Unfortunately, I don’t have a pool anymore. It collapsed back in November, rest in peace. That thing was just a couple years younger than me so it lasted a good 20+ years. It served us well.
But I loved to sit out by the pool. We had a patio to sit on plus a swing or I could sit on the deck attached to the pool. When I got too hot, I’d take a quick dip or swim around for a bit. Not only did it give me fresh air and a slight break, but I was also moving around as well.
Don’t Take It Outside
Or, you can forget all of this and just leave your work inside and enjoy the sunshine. Play basketball, ride a bike or go for a walk. I’ve been walking a mile every night lately and it feels great. Plus, if you have a dog, let them get some exercise as well. I’m sure they can’t wait for you to get off the computer at the end of the day so they can play with you.
Do you work outside or just sit outside and soak up the sun in the summer? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.
When it comes to writing, we all need a break every now and then. Not just from the computer and staring at the bright, blank screen, but from thinking as well. That’s where meditation comes in.
What is Meditation?
Meditation is a practice where you focus your mind and zero-in on a particular thought or clear your mind. It’s a relaxing technique to help you feel calm and get back to life with a clean slate. It’s to make sure your mind is in a stable state.
There are various ways to meditate and you can do it just about anywhere – however, a quiet place where you’re alone is the best option. You can do it for as long or as short as you need it. Sometimes all it takes it a couple of deep breaths to get you back on track.
Why is Meditation Good for Writers?
Meditation is good for writers because we’re constantly thinking all day. We’re staring at a computer screen, we’re arguing with fictional characters. We can hit a bout of writer’s block or we can get interrupted many times throughout the day as we write. Sometimes we have the urge to write and other times we don’t.
Meditation is a great way to step back and look at the whole picture. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with the editing process, just take a step back for even five or ten minutes. Take a quick break. And I don’t mean bathroom break. Relax your mind and stretch your body.
Different Ways to Meditate
Close your eyes and breathe
It sounds boring, but it’s honestly not. Sometimes if I get overwhelmed or if I’ve been working for too long, I sit on the floor with my back straight, shoulders back, and close my eyes. I don’t sit for too long. I usually take 5-10 deep breaths – in through my nose, out through my mouth. It rests my eyes, clears my mind, and stretches my back out a bit.
It helps to lie down as well. If you end up falling asleep and taking a nap, then that’s probably a good thing. I feel like sleep is the one thing we tend to give up depending on how busy we are.
Listen to music
Most of us listen to music all the time anyway. We jam out to our favorite songs on Spotify or YouTube. However, sometimes you need to sit back and really listen to the music. I personally like instrumental or classical music. I especially love the violin. If you’re short on time, just listen to two songs. That’s roughly 5-6 minutes anyway.
Take a walk
I know, when you think of “meditation” you think of sitting with your eyes closed and breathing deeply. The truth is, meditation is all around us – as long as we’re relaxing, we’re meditating in our own way.
Taking a walk is a great way to not only clear your mind – because you should be taking in the beauty of nature – but it also gives your legs and back a good stretch. Not to mention the fresh air will do wonders.
Meditation isn’t as daunting as the word makes it sound. I think we all have one definition of meditation in mind. There are many different forms of meditation – the word and practice come from different places – but not all meditation is the same. Just remember, clear your mind and remember to breathe. Writing isn’t an easy task and neither are the stages that come after.
You’ll get there and you’ll mind will be fresh when you do.
Do you practice any form of meditation? How do you do it? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.
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Working from home is no easy task. I’ve always been used to it though. When I got into college I always preferred taking online classes. There were many reasons for this, of course, but one reason was that I preferred to do everything at my own pace. I preferred to do the work on my own and tell myself what to do.
In some ways I miss being in college because I found great joy in looking up the homework for the entire semester, making a large to-do list, setting aside time each day for school specifically, and just getting it all done on my own terms. Half of the time I’d have my homework completed a couple weeks in advance.
People have always awed at me saying I had a lot of “discipline.” I can certainly agree with that, especially since I took a leap to quick my job and work from home.
There are ups and downs to working from home though. It’s harder to stay healthy and while you have more time to socialize with friends and family, it’s harder to get out there and meet new people. Not to mention the whole money-making thing.
But if there’s one thing that’s super hard about working from home, it’s balancing between work and real life.
People find it hard to believe that I follow a “schedule” because I’m home. I’m my own boss so I can do my work whenever I want to, right?
No, that’s not the case. There’s a lot of things I have to do and I set deadlines for myself. I have to get X, Y, and Z done before I can get things A, B, and C done. This is easy for me to do when I’m home alone, no distractions other than the dog and cat, and I have my priorities straight.
Yet, I do get the occasional phone call from a friend or family member. Someone needs to be picked up from school or someone is having drama in their life and just needs to vent. Normally this isn’t a big deal. I’m here if anyone needs to me.
However, because I’m here, people tend to think I’m available 24/7. I don’t have a boss looming over my head making sure I get my work done. I can text while I get my blogging done. I can talk on the phone while I do the dishes. Even though I can multitask with these things, I don’t get my work done to the best of my ability. Sometimes I’ll stop, give the person my undivided attention, and then I blink and a few hours have gone by.
Before I know it, the morning is gone. I need to go babysit for a few hours. When I get home, it’s dinner and the rest of my family is home from work and it’s harder to get things done then. Doable, but harder.
I’m an entrepreneur. I’m finally saying to everyone, “Here are my work hours.”
I always thought working from home would be easy.
I had assumed my “work hours” were the same as everyone else’s. In the morning, they go off to work and I’m home to get my own stuff done. By the time the afternoon rolls around, I’ll go babysit and then come home and chill for the night. Except, the phrase “work from home” is used differently to others than what it means for me.
So, with a new year comes new responsibilities. I want to accomplish a lot in 2019 and I have a lot of big plans. This requires my undivided attention. I want to make a living doing what I love and this is what I need to do.
I posted new hours on my Contact Me page, which is a general guideline of hours I’m on the computer, checking my emails, and whatnot.
My weekly hours.
As of right now, I’m working Monday through Thursday from nine in the morning to six at night. I get up early, get my writing done, get my workout in, shower, and then begin work at nine. I’ll work either on more writing or blogging or some other projects. I stop for lunch around one in the afternoon and then I need to go babysit. So, it’s kind of like an extended break, but when I get home I’ll do some last minute things for about an hour or two and then be done for the night.
I decided to add hours for Sunday because, even though we have a lot of family events on Sundays, I collab with my sister a lot on things. Sundays are the main days we can work together. I have church in the morning and then, when I get home, I’ll be working on blogging and things I need to do for my church.
I chose to give myself Friday and Saturday off. I do sometimes work on these two days, but I want it known that I won’t be checking emails or anything like that. I’ve been pretty good about keeping Friday clear. I get some chores done around the house, read a book, play video games, and just chill generally.
I still technically work on Saturdays. Kris and I still go to Barnes & Noble to get some writing done or even brainstorm for our blogging. Sometimes we’ll come home and get some more work done together or we’ll chill for the afternoon or hang out with some friends.
I have to be honest, getting work done over the weekend is easier than during the week. You’d think that, since everyone else is at work, I’d be able to get my stuff done no problem. For some reason, that’s not the case.
How I get my work done during the week now.
The number one thing I’ve been doing during the mornings has been blocking time. I’ll work for about two hours or so and then take a quick break. I’ll check on the animals, make myself a snack, do the dishes or something.
This is also the only time I’ll check my phone. I still keep it on and next to me in case there’s a true emergency, but if I get a text or a phone call from certain people, I’ll make them wait.
My phone has been the biggest distraction lately because I am able to text while I’m working and because I’m home, people know they can call me all the time. I honestly have never gotten so many phone calls in the my life, it’s crazy.
I know work isn’t the number one most important thing. There are times where I’ll give in and answer a phone call from a friend or browse the Internet a bit. We all need little distractions from time to time. However, it’s been getting a bit out of hand with people telling me, “You’re home all day. Just get it done later.”
If I got things done later, then my book would never be published. My new projects for this blog would never get done.
So, we’ll see how this new schedule works out. I have designated working times now and have put myself in a distraction-free environment with my to do list prioritized. I think 2019 is going to be the best year yet… for my work, anyway.
Do you give yourself set hours to work on your writing? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.