If you're a writer, you know how easy it is to become so engrossed in your work that hours pass without notice. Suddenly, the air has grown stuffy, your imagination feels stifled, your neck and back are aching, and your concentration is flagging. In short, you've hit a wall.
As a writer, it's vital you stay fit and fresh so that inspiration and words can flow. Here are a few simple steps to make sure you're in your best shape to let your talent shine.
Take exercise breaks
Put down your laptop every hour and get moving. Stroll around the room and talk out loud. Indeed, many famous writers did most of their work standing up. And no wonder: exercise gives muscles a stretch and circulation a boost. You'd be even better off going outside for a brisk walk. That way you'll burn off nervous energy and get your heart pumping. A healthy circulation ensures a steady flow of oxygen to your busy brain, while a gulp of fresh air will clear your mind. Take stock of the scenery, sounds and scents as you march about - they'll inspire your writing.
Take time out from your work to fix yourself a wholesome meal, with fresh fruit, salad or raw vegetables. They'll keep you topped up with the vitamins and nutrients you need to stay healthy, mentally and physically. A balanced diet and regular meals will also help you maintain a healthy weight which, in turn, will enhance your physical comfort as you work.
Have a chat
This may come as a nasty shock to the introvert writers among us, but it's actually very important to stay engaged with the real world. Speak to real people, face-to-face, and make sure you don't become too wrapped up in your own thoughts. Problem solving is one thing, ruminating is quite another. A balanced perspective will help you keep your writing balanced, too.
Keep the air fresh
Open a window and let in the fresh, cool air. The oxygen will empower your brain and enrich your writing. Don't worry about letting in a breeze - that will stimulate your skin, revitalising your senses and, indirectly, your mind. If the weather's seriously cold, just open the window now and again for a few minutes.
Change your position
Switch up your seating arrangement and, if possible, your writing room, at least once a day. A change of surroundings will stimulate the senses and imagination, and release pressure from cramped muscles and joints, helping you focus on your work. Rearrange the lighting for different atmospheres and look out the window for fresh thoughts before settling back to work. Remember, the world is alive around you. Bring some of that to the page.
Have a laugh
Find something funny to giggle over. Laughing releases tension and lifts the spirits, sustaining enthusiasm for the job in hand. Phone a friend to share a joke or watch a funny video clip, perhaps. Inject some humour into your writing and have a chuckle at your own wit, too. Believe it or not, indulging in a few belly laughs can make you a better, more creative writer.
Close your eyes, draw a deep breath, exhale slowly, and feel your body relax. Do this whenever you feel writer's block taking hold. For a stronger effect, raise your arms in the air, arch your back, clench your fingers and toes and change your sitting position again. You'll feel rejuvenated after this simple procedure. It certainly worked for the famous inventor Nikola Tesla. According to author Marc Seifer, "the inventor claimed that repeatedly squishing his toes helped to stimulate his brain cells. In fact, Tesla reportedly performed his toe exercises nightly, 100 times for each foot."
In short, keep in mind that writers need refreshment and variety. Make it your custom to follow these little strategies to maximize your creative and literary capacity. When you read through your work at the end of the day, you'll find it to be as fresh as you.