You don’t need to be a master researcher to find lots of writing advice if you’re looking to hone your craft.

A quick Web search reveals numerous articles, books, and manuals on how to be a better, faster, or more successful writer. These strategies and techniques, some more helpful than others, require a sharp brain, creativity, and energy to see a project to completion.

Many tips offer cures for writer’s block or how to create believable dialogue, but an often-neglected area is how to optimize the writer, not just the writing.

Writing is a vocational aspiration for many. To get to professional status, you’ll need more than excellent writing chops and a few connections; you’ll need to be physically sharp, as well.

Keeping your body and your psyche well-tuned will help to prevent burnout while making the writing process more enjoyable.

With that in mind, here are some tips to keep you in tip-top shape:

  • This may be obvious, but begin your day with breakfast. Start with a cup of green or white tea; it’s loaded with anti-oxidants and tastes great, too. Enjoy with a piece of fruit and a bowl of oats with peanut butter stirred in. This protein-packed and nutrient-rich breakfast is easy and a body-friendly departure from the coffee and pastry habit you’ve developed.
  • Get outside! Stepping away from the computer is the best thing you can do to move along a stalled paragrapheven if it’s just a walk around the block. Moving the body moves the blood, thus feeding the brain with the vital oxygen needed to churn out that bestseller.
  • Observe the world around you. While on a walk, look around for things you’d usually miss. How many cats are sunning on porches? When did your neighbor paint her front door hot pink? Taking off the blinders allows your mind to expand and opens you up to new ideas for writing and living.
  • Breathe. Most of us breathe short and shallow; we don’t fill our lungs. It’s important to inhale deeply, expanding your belly as you take in air, then exhaling completely as your belly moves back toward your spine. The best way to re-learn how to breathe is to take a yoga class.
  • Sleep. Get lots of it. The average overworked American gets 6 hours sleep, but experts agree that adults need 7 to 9 hours. Some tips for a good night’s sleep: no caffeine 4 to 6 hours before bedtime, keep your bedroom dark and cool, and don’t use the bedroom for anything but sleep and sex. If you nap, do so before 3 pm and for no longer than one hour.
Try these tips to keep your body healthy and mind agile. Remember, writing is a discipline: to succeed, you have to practice!

(These tips are a part of my forthcoming book, Creating Unprocess: The Unconventional Writer’s Guide to the Writing Life).

image credit: lia leslie via