Writer Training

Page After PageYesterday’s list of 48 Books on Writing for Writers reminded me of one of my all-time favorites: 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.”

This is a good reminder. I know that I write better and more often when I am taking care of myself, and it’s easier to follow good health habits, like these, when I remember that they help me to be more creative:

  • eating well (whole, real foods and lots of fruits and vegetables)
  • drinking plenty of water
  • getting at least minimal exercise, including daily morning walks
  • 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 (both for energy and to prevent migraines), as is being careful about my online diet, which quickly diverts both my attention and energy in far-flung directions. As I look over the list, I realize I could do a better job with physical exercise and drinking more water.

What training program prepares you for your writing life?


This post is part of the Summer Writing Reset blog series, with daily posts Monday through Friday. Subscribe to receive full-length new posts in your inbox or catch them on my Facebook page.

2 thoughts on “Writer Training

  1. Love this…Need significant others to accept this. On the other hand, I’ve got an amazing amount done so far this summer…not as much as I could if we weren’t traveling, but still…I sneak it in where I can.

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