Productive writing for me meant starting early in the morning—getting up and going to work. It also meant a lot of sitting, something my mother constantly warned me about. “They” say extended sitting can be as damning to your health as smoking.
I tried to get up every hour and walk around. But when I was deep into a story, several hours might go by before I remembered a break was in order.
One of my writer friends, Russell Blake solved the sitting problem by using a treadmill desk. I wasn’t sure where I would put such a desk, so I started with a jogging trampoline, which proved to be fine for grabbing a few minutes of aerobic movement, but not terrific for walking and writing.
In October our daughter gave me a treadmill and Don built a desktop to convert it into a treadmill desk. Around this time our life seemed to spiral out of control—again. We had spent the summer and early fall dealing with Don’s medical issues, and now that he was on the mend, we hoped to get back to our lives. But then my mother-in-law passed away the end of October, and by early November I was diagnosed with breast cancer.
I’ve done a lot of soul searching to figure out why I’m facing cancer—again. Considering the type of cancer I have—estrogen fed—I suspect my sedentary writer’s lifestyle was a major contributing factor. While I’ve always eaten fairly healthily and don’t do junk food, I was overweight and under exercised.
This is one of those cliché wakeup calls where the person (me) makes lifestyle changes. The diet changes—eliminating dairy, severely limiting beef, going organic—didn’t interfere with my writing—just my pocketbook.
One might think the treadmill desk would be the easy answer, yet it turns out that unlike Russell, I can’t write creatively while walking the treadmill. It’s too distracting, and I don’t do distraction when I write, which is why when I’m working I need to be alone, with no music. How people can write a book while watching television, I have no idea.
This didn’t mean I abandoned the treadmill—after all I do want to live. It meant instead of walking at a slower pace for several hours while writing at the treadmill desk, I would walk at a faster speed for 60 minutes a day—every day.
I’m doing it, but I’ve found the only way I manage to stick to my regiment is to walk in the morning. This interferes with my former writing schedule.
I am learning to adapt to this new routine. I admit, it hasn’t been easy—and I’m not moving as fast on Haunting Danielle, Book 3 as I want, but I’ll get there. I’ll have to, because I’ve been reminded how important it is for all of us to take time each day to take care of ourselves. This means eating healthy food and getting sufficient exercise.
(Photo: My treadmill desk in the office. When using it I can surf on the computer, just no real writing.)