Page After PageOne of my favorite books about writing is Page After Page, by Heather Sellers. Several of her insights and ideas have shaped how I think about my own writing, especially her chapter on the energy required to be a writer, which she compares to training for a 5K race:

“Writing asks the exact same kind of preparation of us. You can’t expect it to go well if you haven’t prepared your body and your mind. You have to rest before you write. You have to be fed (stomach with protein, head with books). You have to be really ready to write. It’s not something we readily admit in our culture, that writing takes enormous focus and concentrated energy, and true stamina on a number of levels. I mean, there you are, sitting at your desk, looking out the window. Doesn’t look like hard work. Looks kind of lazy, in fact.” (p. 133)

She continues:

“You might not be writing as much as you want to because you have an unrealistic perception about how much energy it takes to produce good writing.”

I know that I write better and more often when I am taking care of myself:

  • eating well (lots of fruits and vegetables)
  • drinking plenty of water
  • getting at least minimal exercise
  • spending some time outdoors
  • keeping to a good sleep schedule
  • not filling my mind with a lot of junk information (whether from news or social media)
  • practicing daily meditation

Of course, the list will be different for everyone. Sleep and regular meals are especially important for me, as is being careful about my online “digital diet,” which quickly diverts both my attention and energy in far-flung directions.

What training program prepares you for your writing life?