Monday, 17 June 2013

Goal List Week Commencing 16th June 2013

Handy Table - Maria A Smith
Apologies for lack of a blog post last week, I've been practising self-care for the writer, and making a few changes.

Comfort - Years ago I swapped from a PC, to a laptop, mainly to ease a sore aching back, the laptop giving me more versatility and of course portability too. Lately though, I've found myself wriggling around after an hour or so, and rather than having notebooks scattered on the sofa, or chucked on the floor at my feet, I wanted a more solid working area for when I'm in a comfy chair.

As you can see, I've got myself a small table that I can bring right up over my lap on all the different seating around the house as well as outside in the garden. Reasonably sturdy, I can easily adjust the height, and have the top angled in one of three positions. I'm rather pleased with my purchase.

Exercise - About five weeks ago I was told to cut back on walking by the asthma clinic, who in fairness have put me on a 90 day programme to learn better breathing techniques. I've been a bit miffed, it took me a while to get into a good routine. Instead I've been doing more yoga practice in the mornings. If you write early morning, or anytime of day really, I recommend you stop, sit, stretch and breath for 10 or 15 minutes. Apart from helping to keep you fit, it'll unlock your mind, as you unwind and relax. If you can practice mindfulness too, even better. Meditation is a great stress reliever at anytime of the day.

Sleep - I'm hopeless when it comes to sleeping well, am I the only writer out there with insomnia? I don't think so, and while I've been looking after myself better these last few weeks, I decided to try and get to the bottom of why I'm not sleeping.

I already know sleep deprivation causes a lot of problems like lack of concentration, memory loss, stress, in short my creativity suffers, as well as reaching deadlines. how am I coping then? By making a conscious effort not to write in the evenings at least four nights a week. Its a toughie this, because I work during the day. Old habits are hard to break, but I've made myself a schedule.

Also it helps if I go to bed at a more reasonable time, and I'm slowly getting the habit, telling myself I need at least 7 hours of quality sleep to function well the next day. Its challenging, but I'm working on it.

Hydration - I used to be fairly good at remembering to drink regularly, but lately I lost the plot completely and found I've gone without a drink for as long as 6 or 7 hours in a day! Shocking really.
Two thirds of the body is made up of water, its essential to keep all the bodily functions working correctly. Without it, everything becomes sluggish, I don't think I need to go into detail. Save to say, its very difficult to concentrate on your writing when you are dehydrated. Plain old water is best, so I've upped my intake, as well as drinking more fruit juice, and tea without milk. It seems to be working.

The Pen - I am going back to the pen. Not fully - goodness I couldn't do that completely, but I am defintely going to write more with my pen, rather than tap words out onto the screen. There is something about sitting quietly with pen and notebook, scribbling away, letting the mind wander freely, not having the distraction of the internet, or the worry of jiggery-pokery within the software.

I know its the long way round, I'll have to type it up later, OR, is it? When I type it up, I find I am editing, so its like a second draft, thus cutting out going back over a lot of stuff on the screen. I'm keen to hear your thoughts, pen or keyboard?

I'm still working on my personal writers self-care package, albeit slowly, I am enjoying the changes, and I'll let you know how its going as things unfold.

Its been a funny old week...

Where I've been... To the swimming pool - I'm slowly getting back into swimming again. I'm not the best swimmer, but just jogging up and down the pool makes me feel better that I am doing something!

What I've seen... A robin on the washing line. A lovely sight, even though its supposed to be blazing June, and robin sightings are usually on crisp cold days of winter around here.

Who I've met... Sharing a brew with another writerly type is always a pleasure, and sometimes its difficult to make the time, but well worth the effort. Lots of catch up on each others projects.

What I've bought... My new versatile table!

The week ahead looks like this...

More writerly self-care

Some words

Some walking

What will you be up to?


  1. I agree about hydration, fresh air, sleep and exercise (in whatever form). All are vital for the creative process!

    I work mostly in the way you're doing - first draft with pen and paper for scenes, then filler scenes are directly typed and edited as I type up the key scenes. This means editing happens as copy typing is done. I find I'm more creative with pen and paper and have always loved it that way. Editing is predominantly done on screen though occasionally if I really want to hack a large scene apart, I print it off then edit with a pen. I can use the back of the printed sheet as draft writing fodder at a later date.

    Glad you had the chance to go swimming and that the self-care is taking the foreground more. Have a great week!

    1. Thank you Lou, I'm trying... :-)

  2. Hey Maria.
    At the moment, I think 2/3rds of my body im made up of coffee (working nights). But, agree completely that you have to look after yourself if you want the writing to purr along without distraction. Also, going back to the pen as much as possible has worked for me in improving my output (too many distractions on a laptop), and is much more satisfying.
    Take care. Have a good week.

    1. I think you have hit the nail on the head, its much more satisfying. I've got out of the habit, and need to get back to how I started out.

  3. Goodness, I have no idea who I might be if I got more that four hours of sleep at a shot! "Writerly self-care" is a wonderful, yet stretching idea for me. I shall think more on it this week, perhaps be more intentional. (I have three teenage boys that keep me quite busy)

    However, we did just return from a camping trip during which I turned off my phone and we were sans electricity--two legal pads weren't enough! :) Renewing my love affair with pens...

  4. Your advice is spot on Maria.I do need to drink more water and when I sit at the computer I always have a lagre glass beside me. I have a little table like yours although I've not been using it.I am now at the pc on the dinning table with a large cushion at my back. I too have asthma and don't sleep weel,everything starts me coughing during the night,too hot,too cold,smells,anything. I've tried to meditate but I can't shut my mind down.


I really appreciate you taking the time to leave me a comment, and I try to reply to every one. Many thanks!

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