A Writer Needs Fuel!
Fresh writing needs fresh thought flow.
Without a healthy body you cannot maintain any semblance of healthy thought flow. This applies to everyone, not just writers. If your body is disintegrating, so too, in time, will your brain and as a result your writing will ultimately suffer.
There are two types of writers; the munchers and the fasters. The munchers nibble on anything and everything to help maintain focus and hopefully keep their inspirational juice flow fed and watered for the duration of their self-imposed schedule. The fasters let their body fall to decay in sacrifice of their art, be it for an hour or an entire day. Either way, nothing must break the bliss that is a writers ‘flow‘; when in the zone, one must do whatever it takes to maintain it!
This is so true. A writer, however, cannot be sustained on will power alone. Doing this is extremely unhealthy, cannot be maintained on a daily basis and ultimately results in inconsistent writing spurts and ‘muddied‘ writing overall.
What most writers forget is that in order to write one must be able to think clearly and in order to think clearly our brains need fuel. The brains fuel principally requires two elements; oxygen (the most important) and food (mainly potassium based foods for clear and consistent thought flow). Potassium helps all the little thought tendrils within the brain to stay circuited together, thereby allowing us to think more quickly, concisely and clearly.
Potassium can be found in a number of foods, particularly in bananas, tomatoes, green leafy vegetables and nuts. Here’s a little list; tomatoes, soy beans & soy products, mushrooms, strawberries, bananas, watermelon, cantaloupe, carrot, corn, avocado, mustard, parsnip, potato, beets, fresh leafy greens, spinach, raisins, prunes, apricots, dates (very high in potassium, great to keep in a container on your desk to nibble!), peas, beans, kidney beans, turkey, chicken, liver, brains, fish; cod, flounder, haddock, oysters, salmon, sardines, wheat-germ, molasses & beef.
A writers diet need not necessarily consist of all of these, but the inclusion of at least one of them somewhere in your daily food intake is advisable.
Oxygen is a must for smooth thought flow, therefore regular breaks for the intake of fresh air are also required for any writer in order to write anything that is going to be worth reading.
Health practitioners advise a break every forty minutes for the average office worker. For a writer, however, this can become quite adversarial to productivity. Hourly works better and in extremis even bi-hourly is better than nothing at all. To take a break, you needn’t break your concentration, speak, or take your mind away from what you are doing, indeed it is better not to. Stay in the zone, walk away from your desk, step outside, look far into the distance and inhale deeply of ten deep breaths. That’s all you need to do. Don’t sit down whilst doing it; you have been seated for the last hour or more; you don‘t want to end up as a pot of lard come the end of your writing career. Walk around, get your limbs moving! You will feel better for it. If you’re a smoker, walk around whilst puffing, intake some oxygen whilst filling your lungs with smoke; you can do both at the same time!
It is advisable for basic health to take 1000 steps per day to maintain healthy circulation and oxygen flow within the body. This sounds a lot but it actually isn’t. Each time you take a break, take a little walk. It needn’t be long-winded or fast and you don’t need to even leave your domain. Walk a dog-like patrol (not on all fours, please!), around the perimeter of your yard, the interior of your house, or even back and forth across the room, your balcony, the foyer – it matters not, just take 100 steps; it takes all of a few minutes. Ten breaks over the course of one day keeps your blood oxygenated, your muscles limber and by extension, will also keep both your thoughts and your writing fresh!
Set an hourly unobtrusive mobile ring-tone or other alarm if you need to; this you will use exclusively for this purpose so your brain becomes attuned to it. Re-set it upon return to your desk for one or two hours ahead. After while your body will become accustomed to the routine and you will no longer require a break alert.
As for food, that’s entirely up to you; eat as much or as little as you like, as often as you like, just make sure you do at least nibble something in at least three of your breaks; your brain truly does need that fuel!
That’s about it. It is a simple, but extremely effective technique for maintaining basic health, particularly if sitting at a desk or computer all day. You will find that despite how it seems, you will actually get more done in less time; your stress levels will decline, your thought flow will improve and your productivity will increase overall. I guarantee it.
© Tezi Magazine, 2013.
Very good tips, all. I’ve been thinking a lot about how to improve my concentration and productivity. So far, the most important is to focus on the work before the not-work (e.g. e-mail, twitter, fb, etc). But my challenge has been maintaining the energy levels after that. Thanks for the information about the potassium, and the reminder about exercise!
Haha – You’re most welcome – glad to be of assistance – hopefully! 🙂 Yes indeed, focusing on the work before the ‘not work’ is an absolute essential I have found – and needs a lot of self discipline! Otherwise you just never ever get started each day on those things which must be done!
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