A few days ago I found myself in the unenviable position of needing to write six articles in one day. Each one was short, about 500 words apiece, but that still a lot of writing for one eight-hour workday. Yes, there was some procrastination involved, along with the good luck of a couple of clients calling in with some last minute requests. But in short, I couldn’t remember this heavy a writing day since my time as a beat reporter on a newspaper.
I know how I usually feel at the end of a long day of writing. My eyes are crossed, my legs feel heavy, I’m just plain tired, and the work I do at the end of the day isn’t nearly as good as what I produced at the beginning.
I started thinking about the advice I give to clients. “Take a 15 minute break every two hours. Go for a walk, listen to music, get away from the computer. You’ll be surprised at how much better and more productive you feel when you come back to work.”
Yes, I’m always giving that advice, but how often do I take it myself? Like all of us, when I’m working I’m sure that if I just power on for a few more minutes I’ll be able to finish my project, and then enjoy that break even more. I don’t take the walk, don’t stop for a healthy lunch; I wait until I’m starved then grab whatever food is quickest and easiest to eat, so I can get back to work – in other words junk food.
I finally decided to take my own advice. Instead of relying on caffeine and sugar for my inspiration I set a glass of juice next to my computer. Every two hours throughout the day I took a walk around the block. At lunch, I made myself something healthy to eat. The result of the experiment is that I finished my work about an hour before I’d estimated I would, and I wasn’t nearly as tired as I expected.
Writing is hard work and staring at a computer attempting to come up with creative words and ideas is tiring, also. I know so many people who tell me that they are having trouble writing and when I ask about their writing schedule they explain that they had a weekend free and attempted to write an entire book in that time.
If you do have one of those rare, free weekends and plan to power ahead on your book, by all means go ahead and work. But add in some time for physical exercise and stock the fridge with a few healthy food and beverage choices. You may be amazed at how much more creative you are!