Writing is one of those jobs that requires spending a good deal of time alone, either scrawling out words in a notebook or typing at a computer or typewriter. Usually, this means that you are sitting at a desk for long periods of time. As far as maintaining a healthy life-balance goes, this can be problematic.
So how does a writer go about getting work done while still battling the sedentary lifestyle that is typical of the breed? The trick is to follow a schedule.
Yep. Follow a schedule. I don’t care if you are a dedicated pantser like myself, or if plotting gets your goat (a phrase I really don’t understand), following as schedule matters a lot. Every day, you do your work in the morning, then you eat lunch, then you get back to work. Somewhere in there, you have to schedule in a set time for exercising.
I do most of my social media and blog posting in the mornings. Marketing, putting together aesthetics and images for promotional materials also fall into this category. Then, once I’ve conquered the main portion of that task, I take my dog on a walk and then go on a longer walk. (Poor dog isn’t as young as she used to be, can’t keep up.) Every day. That’s at least two miles (more like 2.5) every morning.
Then, I come back, do some more work before lunch, eat lunch and get back to the grindstone. At my lowpoint in the afternoon, when my energy is waning from lunch and my brain is thinking desperately of falling asleep, I go and do half-an-hour on the stationary bicycle I keep. It’s not glamorous, or even very exciting. I pedal on the bicycle and watch half-an-hour of whatever show I’m working through on Netflix/Amazon. But that gives me enough energy to get going through the rest of the afternoon. Again, every day.
If you don’t keep to a schedule, maintaining the will to exercise or move away from your writing can be very difficult. I know I would much rather just sit still and watch my Netflix show than sit on the bicycle and work through it, but I don’t. I have to do that every day or it doesn’t become part of the routine and I feel better about skipping out.
This works great for exercise, but it can also work for social activities. Maybe you need to get out of the office/house and actually go interact with people on occasion. (As an introvert, this is hard to admit, but we need interaction, too.) Schedule it into your day so you know exactly how much time you have and need to do these activities.
It can be difficult to force yourself to get up and do something when you are very comfortable at your desk, or on the couch, or wherever you work. The more it becomes built into your routine, the easier it is for your body to accept what you need to do. Sitting around all day (or standing at a standing desk) doesn’t do a whole lot for your health, nor does it get your blood flowing and inspire creativity. Taking some time away from the work can get you reinvigorated and more interested in what you’re doing. Yes, exercise or social interaction is also good for you in general, but it can really help your flow, too.