It’s time for another edition of Editor’s Corner. Today Associate Editor Libby Murphy is joining us and giving us tips on how to keep our sanity as we roll into November, NaNoWriMo, and the holidays.
So grab that cup of coffee, sit back, and enjoy. 🙂
♥ ♥ ♥
In a past life, in a galaxy far, far away, I was a wellness educator and stress management instructor. I still teach a few classes here and there, but this background has actually been quite helpful to me in the publishing industry (shocking, I know!). So with NaNoWriMo kicking off, the holidays coming up, and deadlines galore year-round, I thought I’d share some quick and easy tips to help you all reign in the sanity and keep your Zen pools half-full.
Get up and move at least 10 minutes every hour. Ugh, I know I’m saying this as I’m nagging authors about deadlines, but hear me out. Sitting for hours on end without getting up to walk, stretch, or do other activities puts you at greater risk for a heart attack, spinal issues, and chronic pain. Recent studies have shown that even people who work out regularly are at risk, too.
So set a timer for yourself to get up and do some yoga, go for a brisk walk around the block, or even one try of those super-fast exercise DVDs that can be done in 10 minutes. Buy yourself a pedometer and get at least 10,000 steps every day, or rig your treadmill with one of those snazzy desks so you can walk while you write. Just find something you can stick with that will make you want to get up and move.
Feed Your Mind and Body
What comes in must come out, so fill your body and your brain with nothing but the good stuff. At the beginning of the week chop up veggies, fruits, and other goodies so they’re easily available. Fruits and vegetables actually increase heart and brain function, which is essential when you’re in the midst of deadline hell. Avoid anything that comes premade in a box or that you can get from a drive-thru window—this stuff is actually going to hurt rather than help.
Something I’ve done in the past is once a month cooking. You can check out the various cookbooks and websites, but the concept is simple—shop for your food one day a month, spend the next day preparing and freezing, and simply thaw and cook it each day. My family loves this!
Make time for yourself to read, take a class, or veg out with a great movie. I think we all know what it’s like when the creativity well is drying up, so it’s important that we fill it often enough that it stays at least somewhat filled on a day-to-day basis.
Spend quality time with your friends and family, and get out of the house here and there. Such a tough balance! On one hand you have to cultivate these relationships because they’re so crucial to your mind, body, and spirit. But on the other, you know you have deadlines to meet and promo to do, so it’s essential to create boundaries and stick to them.
I’ve worked from home for about the last year and I know how it is when your loved ones call with the belief that working from home equates to endless free time. So I’ve had to create set work hours and be a complete hard ass about them or the work will never get done. During my set non-work hours I chat with friends, do homework with the kids, and just hang out with the fam. And yes, there are exceptions to every rule—just be sure you think hard about when you really need to break them.
I hope everybody has fantastic success with NaNo, deadline hell, and whatever else you pursue in the meantime. Good luck!
About Libby Murphy, Associate Editor
Although she holds a BS in public health, Libby’s true love has always been books. She writes urban fantasy for adults and young adults, has a minor in writing, and has worked as a freelance writer and editor.
Libby would like to see submissions for adults and young adults written with a killer voice, and she especially loves quirky characters and plots. She loves sci-fi with aliens, robots, and high tech; urban fantasy and time travel; contemporary romance; women’s fiction with a strong romantic element; and suspense and mysteries. She craves humor, anti-heroes, and underdogs, and strong, capable heroines are a must.
Great advice, Libby!
I find that after I spend time with my family I can write better with a clearer mind. I love going to “Music and Me” classes with my sister and her 14 month old. Very cute.
I definitely need to get up and exercise more!
I’m so glad this was helpful to you! The “Music and Me” classes sound adorable, and I love that you’re going with them! And you are right about coming back with a clearer mind. You’d think that taking breaks would be counterproductive, but it’s quite the opposite most of the time.
It’s hard to get up and do it, but once you create a routine, it’ll become easier and easier. I have to work hard to keep myself honest with the exercise, too 😉
Libby – I totally hear you about getting up once an hour. I usually try to do that, but yesterday I spent hours and hours sitting here without a break. When I finally did get up, my left hand cramped and shut so hard (like a Charley Horse, but in my palm). I am paying the price today – it is really sore. Sometimes it is easy to get so involved in writing/editing that you forget to take a break. I am going to use your suggestion of setting a timer (I have a virtual egg timer on my desktop) so I don’t forget. I also like to keep a large glass of ice water on my desk (in addition to the cherry coke zero or coffee…) so I can sip it and stay hydrated. thanks for the tips!
You and I both do that, and it’s just crazy how much time you can “lose” if you’re not keeping track (and all the awesome manuscripts we read definitely contribute to that!). The Charley Horse sounds awful! I hope it’s better today!
You know, I think drinking lots of water really helps, and ensures that you HAVE to get up regularly 😉
I hope the timer helps. Happy editing!
Hi Libby, so excited to have met you at the RT Conference. Polishing up my manuscript of Ruling Esland to send to you soonest!
Hope you are rested up and ready to go!