The Healthy Writer: Writing With More Energy, More Creativity, and Better Productivity

On The Write Turn, we’re all about empowering writers and helping writers empower themselves.

But what does this even mean?

A writer’s empowerment comes through learning about the craft and writing, writing, writing.

Empowerment also comes from the choices we make in other areas of our life, our practices, the way we organize ourselves.

In this post, I’m looking at how choices we make about our health have a direct impact on the quality and quantity of our writing work.

Here’s the nutshell version:

A healthy writer is a better writer.

health tips for writers

When I’m talking about making healthy choices, I’m talking about the food we eat and the way we move our bodies.

Our bodies are machines. The quality of the fuel and the efficiency of the tune-ups have a direct relation to the machine’s ability to function well.

And as writers, our machines have a very special function – writing!

We think with our brains, we write with our hands. The back, shoulders, arms, neck are all a part of the process too.

How we feel has an enormous impact on our writing both in terms of our content and our response to ourselves as writers. And how you feel is directly influenced by what you eat and how much you move.

Let’s look closer…

The Healthy Writer

How to Create More Energy

It can seem counterintuitive until you experience it for yourself, but exercising your body actually gives you more energy.

You probably don’t need to be told that writing is hard, often exhausting work.

The more energy we have overall, the more energy we have to take to our writing desk. The longer our writing sessions, the longer, as in longer overall in life, we’ll be able to write for.

We get our energy from food. So why not make choices that enhance that energy in ways that serve our writing?

Choosing foods with a low glycemic index, lots of vegetables, high-quality proteins are all ways to create even, long-lasting energy.

Avoiding refined sugar and keeping a lid on your caffeine and alcohol intake too will help keep your high energy stable.

If you have any doubt on the positive effects of exercise on your brain, read the studies discussed in this post – The Writer’s Brain on Exercise.

How to Enhance Your Creativity

Numerous studies have shown a direct correlation between physical exercise and increased creativity. Read this post on your brain on exercise for more on that.

Creativity all happens in the brain, so when you’re eating for brain health and sustained thinking, your creativity will benefit too. Read this post for more info on brain food for writers.

How to Protect Yourself From Writing Related Injury

Spend any time talking to writers, and you’ll find someone who’s talking about pain issues like carpal tunnel, or suffering lower back pain from sitting.

It’s so common, it just seems like it’s an accepted part of the job that few people ever question.

Well, it doesn’t have to be!

Get yourself strong so these repetitive strains don’t have such an impact, and better still, adopt ways to write that don’t put strain on your body.

Check out this post on building a strong writer’s body.

And this post on protecting your hands from writing related injury and stress.

And this post about idea on writing while moving around.

Pain is distracting, and the more we’re distracted, the less we write. Not only that, who wants to be in pain? Ever?

How to Improve Focus

You’re tired. Your brain is all foggy. You can’t sit still, with your thoughts jumping from one topic to the next.

We’ve all felt how hard it is to write when our focus is shattered into a million different pieces.

In this post, I wrote about a long-term solution for dealing with internet distraction, and there are a lot of other mind training techniques we can do to enhance our focus.

But, mental focus and good health go hand in hand so if you’re struggling to concentrate, take a look at your diet and how much you move around.

Just like we looked at with physical energy, mental focus can be boosted by choosing low GI foods, eating lots of vegetables, and good proteins.

Avoiding processed foods and refined sugar, limiting caffeine and alcohol will also help keep your brain on track.

In my personal experience, I find a low-carb diet is detrimental to my focus and leaves me feeling like my brain is made of mud. To get my carb fix, I always choose whole grains and high protein cereals and low GI bread like dark rye. This is only my situation (and I’m not a doctor or nutritionist), so yours could be different.

…And Don’t Forget to Sleep

Sleep is critical for every human function. Every aspect of the writer’s life we’ve talked about so far—energy, creativity, physical health, and focus—will be enhanced by getting good sleep.

Quality sleep varies from person to person but the general rule of thumb is six to eight hours every night.

Try to keep your sleep schedule consistent, turning in and getting up at around the same time every day.

For more ideas on sleep and the healthy writer, check out this earlier post on how sleep can make you a better writer.

When we’re talking about health tips, it’s critical to remember that every body is different. Good health is relative to the individual and a healthy lifestyle will look different from person to person.

However, just because you’re not a writer who can or would even want to pound the pavement on a ten-mile run, that does not mean that you, in your body and your life cannot live to a certain standard of health. Start small, start gentle and consult your healthcare professional for advice specific to your needs.

Kate Krake
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Kate Krake

Kate Krake writes speculative fiction and non-fiction. She is the author of the urban fantasy series Guessing Tales. Kate blogs about popular culture, health, wellness and creative writing. She lives in Brisbane, Australia with her husband, daughter and two beagles. Find out more on www.katekrake.com.
Kate Krake
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