If you’re a writer and you’re anything like me, well, first of all, I’m sorry.
You probably have a day job or three (commonly known as the Evil Day Job, or EDJ) and you madly scramble for bits of time to write, edit, feed your Facebook and Twitter accounts, plot out your next novel, network and self promote.
But you may be missing a few key things in your life. Things your significant other might have noticed too – the reason they wrinkle their nose every time you walk into the room.
So I thought I’d step in to help. Print this blog post out and keep it as a handy life checklist, to prevent yourself from sinking into the smelly abyss of the overextended writer:
1) Remember to Shower. OK, so this is hygeine 101, but many of us get so wrapped up in our work that we literally forget to hold ourselves to the minimum standards of human decency and presentability. Shower at least every three days. Put it on your calendar. Apply deoderant daily.
2) Shave. This is probably more important for men than women, as women can get away with it with a pair of jeans or sweats in all but the most intimate situations. Men, remember that hair grows on your face as you write, and eventually you’ll look like a madman living in a cabin mailing out package bombs. Shave the edges daily, and the full face at least weekly, unless you’re a bearded man. In that case, you’ll want a regular trimming schedule to prevent those pesky beard knots.
3) Eat Things That Are Not Pure Sugar. Yes, we all know how easy it is to slip into the trap of eating power foods to fuel your writing. Tons of chocolate. Chugging soda like a sugar athlete. But those “foods” will seriously f@ck up your brain if you don’t counter them with some actual food. Eat a salad. Make yourself a bowl of fruit and granola. Heck, even a hamburger and fries is better than a steady diet of Wild Cherry Pepsi and Oreos. Marginally better.
4) Engage in Actual Human Conversation. Your writing needs more than sugar as fuel. It also needs your engaged brain. And nothing is more engaging that actually holding a conversation with someone else. Your spouse, your children and your friends would probably enjoy actually hearing from you once in a while. Step out of your writer cave and see what they’ve been up to for the last 72 hours.
5) Leave the House. Yes, you have that deadline bearing down on you. Sure, you’re feeling intense pressure to get it done. And your boss is demanting extra overtime hours for the Schnartzen-Diebowitz account. But there’s also sunshine. Remember sunshine? The wonderful feeling of a warm breeze on your face? The chirping of birds in the trees? Get outside for a short walk. Clear your head and get a little exercise. It will make sitting in that chair for the next seventy two hours a little more bearable.
OK, so those are my top five – writers, what do you have to remind yourself to do outside of your writer cave?