Healthy Writing 101

When I was a kid, I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. Of course, it would change constantly. First I wanted to be an archeologist because I watched Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981). Then I wanted to be a paleontologist because I watched Jurassic Park (1993). It should only come naturally then when I say that I also wanted to be a Ghostbuster because I watched Ghostbusters (1984).

Well, as time passed I came to realize three things about my “ideal” careers. 

1. Indiana Jones is more of a tomb raider which is illegal in most countries.

2. It takes incredible patience to dig up all those dinosaur bones which is something I don’t have.

3. Ghostbusting isn’t real, sad as that may be.

If I was being honest with you (the reader) and myself, I wouldn’t have landed in any of those jobs for one simple fact: I’m quite lazy. I admit it. I like to sit while working. In fact, when digging up bones, busting ghosts and thwarting Nazis weren’t in my future I picked a more modest career: writing. As some of you know, that didn’t go as planned either and I was forced to choose another career which turned out to be computer programming. Long story short, that didn’t work out as well and I went back to writing. 

The moral to my search for the perfect career is that I didn’t factor in the amount of physical activity (or lack thereof) that career would involve. When I was growing up, I wasn’t the pinnacle of physical fitness. I’m still not. Far from it. I’m more like the base camp of physical fitness. When I was considering my career as a computer programmer, it was the thought of sitting in front of a computer screen all day isolated from the rest of the world. At that time, I was in high school and I was self conscious about my weight and general appearance. So a job that had me behind closed doors most of the day was right up my alley. My failure was that I didn’t realize the physical strain sitting down most of the day would have on my body’s health.

In 2015 I began working at the Pilot News and I loved it because I wasn’t on my feet for eight to ten straight hours every day like I had been when I was working in dining services. I loved the career change for that (lazy) reason, but also because it was one of my dream careers. 

However, I didn’t expect the blood clot. Blood clots are like the Spanish Inquisition in that nobody expects them.

For those that don’t know, sitting for extended periods of time could cause blood clots to form. In my case, I found that my three foot blood clot was a combination of sitting instead of being on my feet and the genes that my parents gave me. Thanks Mom and Dad.

What I’m trying to say is that even if you’re sitting on your butt all day for hours on end, you still have to exercise and get that blood flowing. If you’re going to be sitting for an extended period of time, you need to move around. Stand up and walk around your room every hour. Break up an eight hour writing session by going out and walking. You could even get a gym membership and work out. Even if you walk from your office to the kitchen to refill your coffee cup, that’s still better than having the coffee pot on your desk.

Trust me on that last one. Having your coffee pot located on your desk is a bad thing for multiple reasons. The first being that you’re not getting up and walking to the kitchen. The second being that your coffee pot could leak and then you’d have a permanent coffee pot ring engraved in your wooden desk.

Yes, that happened to me. On the upside, it gives your desk character. 

My local library offers Chair Yoga. Chair Yoga, as the name might suggest, teaches people how to stretch and exercise while sitting in an office chair. I’ve never been able to go, but it’s always something I’ve found interesting. 

For me, walking around the neighborhood is an activity that gets clears my mind. If I’m hung up on how to propel the plot, I will go walking. Ninety-nine percent of the time, by the time I’m back I’ve figured out what to do next.

Stephen King goes out walking everyday and look how successful he is. Although… he did almost die from getting hit by a vehicle while out on one of those walks. So… be careful when you’re out there.

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