If there’s anything that’s surprised me with my “return to writing” over the last three years, it’s how much my effort and output is affected by my physical state. Gone are the days where I could write into all hours of the night, staying up on crappy food, beer, and a handful of aspirin. I just can’t produce that way anymore, and maybe, I never really could...not consistently anyway.
Now, I try to get a decent night’s sleep (not always possible, but I try), eat better, and make sure that I routinely exercise.
Writing is sedentary, and my day job is more or less as well, at least at this stage in my career. Because my writing time is limited, I have to make the most of it and have to be as sharp as I can for that time I’m at the keyboard. I’m sure we’ve all read Stephen King’s On Writing where he describes turning out books on a mixture of cocaine and pills, and although the idea of the hard drinking, hard smoking, hard living writer (you know, writers and rock stars) has been romanticized, that’s a far cry from my reality.
Although I’ve been known to have a beer or two for breakfast, I can only write well clear headed, and I’m only clear headed when my body and mind are healthy and in sync.
Writing itself is so much more than putting a few words on paper, just like a writing career is more than publishing any one single book. There’s so much that people don’t see that make both possible, and there’s so much that can frustrate and derail you if you're not careful.
As always, keep writing.