What does a writer have to do to get work done?
Well, I’d say the answer to that question highly varies depending on who you ask. Most people would simply say WRITE.
And I agree.
But you know how your bicycle runs so much easier after you’ve pumped new air into the tires? Low air pressure can cause flats and damage both the tires and rims, not to mention how it slows you down and forces you to pedal so much harder.
After being close to hit the wall on two occasions within four years, I’ve been forced to find a routine which includes small breaks, the right nutrition and time to refuel my soul. Of course, this is so much easier now as I’m writing full time and can plan my days as I see fit, but with small adjustments, I’m sure it could work just about anywhere.
There are five cornerstones to my writing routine which helps keep my brain, body and soul on track:
- Good food
- Scheduled breaks
- Physical exercise
Let’s start with the food.
- I start every day with a glass of lukewarm lemon/ginger water. Why? I want to stay healthy and keep the colds off. Ginger suppresses inflammation and lemon boosts the immune system. Why lukewarm? It’s kinder to the stomach. Our body enzymes work best at a temperature of 37–42⁰C, and when we drink cold water, the process of warming up the cold liquid uses unnecessary energy.
- A light breakfast’s accompanied with a maximum of two cups of coffee (that’s IT for the day – we don’t want too much of that caffeine) and some vitamins. Which vitamins you take should be based on what your body lacks. What nutrition do you get through your food? What do YOU eat? Always look at the food first and see if there’s a way to change that before taking extra vitamins.
– I’m taking Omega-3. Why? I hardly eat any fish, I don’t like it, and I need that fat. The membrane surrounding the braincells use it to make connections between braincells as smooth as possible. With bad connection, it’s harder for us to remember stuff. A deficit of Omega-3 forces the brain to use other fats, lowering the brain’s overall performance. And you wouldn’t want that now, would you writer?- I’m also taking Zink. Why? Zink is an antagonist to cortisol (known as the stress hormone). Cortisol is naturally high in the mornings, which by the way is why you don’t want to exercise this time of day and trigger the exudation even more. High levels of cortisol during a long period of time is one big, physical factor for people crashing into that famous wall.- D-vitamin. YES! Do you know how little the sun is shining in Sweden? And that even when it shines, we’re so far away from it that it’s almost impossible for our skin to produce D-vitamin? We do get enough sun during the summer months, but even though the body stores D-vitamin, our stocks are usually empty right before Christmas.
But why do we need it? It’s easier to say why we don’t need it – there is no reason why we don’t need it. It does everything from strengthening the skeleton and teeth to helping us avoid depression. Aim for at least 50 μg per day, even if most public recommendations are considerably lower.
– B-vitamins. Why? A deficit of B-vitamins can cause memory disturbances and depression. Especially important for your mood is B6.
– Magnesium. Why? It’s a mineral that fights inflammation in your body, and studies have found there’s a correlation between inflammation and depression. It also helps the muscles relax and assists a good sleep, which is why I take it right before bed in the evening.
- I eat six times a day. Breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, snack. HEALTHY SNACKS (smoothies, carrots, crispbread). Lunch and dinner are often different lentil soups or variations of woks on quorn or oumph.
Let me hand you the recipe of my favorite smoothie, packed with energy and good nutrition. Easy as a pancake and quick to make.
- 1 ripe avocado
- 3 dl pomegranate juice
- 1 teaspoon of honey
- 1 teaspoon of chia seeds
- 1 dl frozen berries (such as blueberries or raspberries)
Moving on to writing. When I write, I write. Simple as that. I’m completely focused on the task ahead of me.
Next, scheduled breaks. I begin working at 9 in the morning. My first 15 minute break comes at 10:30 (then I make the lovely smoothie above!). Lunch at 13:00 (roughly 30 minutes). Next 15 minute break at 15:30. At 18:00 I wrap it up for the day. Errrrrdamnday from Monday-Friday.
Physical exercise! Yes! I jog four times a week, 3-6 km depending on the mood. I need this. Everybody needs this. Maybe not jogging, but anything which gets the blood pumping FOR ANOTHER REASON THAN THOSE STEAMY SCENES YOU’RE WRITING. Just saying.
The final part of my writing routine is REST. I don’t write on the weekends. Saturdays and Sundays are days off for me. Well, to tell the truth my mind is spinning with ideas and things I need to do anyway, but I stay away from the computer. I try to focus on other stuff, experiencing life in all its simplicity and wonders, to gather inspiration and plant seeds for next week’s work. I’m also strict on sleeping eight hours per night. Any less leaves my head like a mushroom for the entire next day.
Oh my God this girl has such a boring life, can she even write romance? If this thought’s popped up in your mind, I invite you to take a closer look at Kilonova Blues eventually, and see for yourself… 😉
That’s all for now,
hej så länge!