There are many characteristics of a successful writer, and I’m defining a successful writer as one that actually writes. In my opinion and experience, a successful writer is someone who takes their writing seriously. They are consistently working on a manuscript, submitting to agents and editors, publishing and sharing their work, learning about writing, and engaging with other writers. All of these efforts result in publication and a “successful” writing career.
All of that effort takes energy. Lots of energy. And of course you have a life. You have other responsibilities which may or may not include a family, pets, school, a J O B and more.
So what can you do to have enough energy for everything, more importantly how can you have enough energy to write?
#1 Your Best Time of Day – Identity the time of day when you feel most energetic. For me, that’s the morning. I’m a morning person. By 2:00 I’m a joke so saving writing for that time of day would be a huge mistake. On the other hand, if I make sure to schedule my writing time before say, 11:30 then it’ll get done.
#2 Exercise – You laugh but I’m serious. Exercise, the right kind of exercise, gives you energy. It wakes up your mind and your body. And if you read the post last Tuesday then you know that exercise makes you more creative. Walk, jog, dance for ten minutes, jump rope – it doesn’t really matter what you do, as long as you do something that gets your heart rate up for twenty or so minutes.
#3 Cut the sugar – There’s no way I’m going to tell you to eliminate sugar. I’d be a hypocrite if I did. I love sugar. Love it love it love it. Jelly beans, cookies, lemonade, cookies, yes I meant to say cookies twice. Cupcakes too. Yum! However, the key to more energy is to balance your blood sugar and that means eating protein, whole grains, and veggies – not sugar.
So here’s what a fellow sugar lover does. I indulge in some sweet treat once a week, okay maybe twice a week when I’m PMSing. Start paying attention to your sugar intake and gradually reduce it until you get to the point where you’re only having a sugary treat once or twice a week.
#4 Hydrate – When you become even a little dehydrated, your metabolism slows down. You start feeling lethargic. I often feel tired way before I feel thirsty and I’ll take a nap before think to drink a glass of water. Try to stay ahead of dehydration and drink a glass of water before each snack and meal. And if you start feeling sleepy, try drinking a glass of water before you grab coffee or take a nap.
#5 Sleep – Please make sure you’re getting enough sleep. There’s nothing worse than trying to use your brain if you’ve only gotten a few hours of sleep. It hurts. You know your body and you know how much sleep you need. Take steps to make that knowledge a reality. I know that I need at least eight hours of sleep and my body really loves nine hours of sleep. So I go to bed at nine each night and wake up around six.
You’ll notice that the habits to have enough energy to write, mirror basic healthy living habits. But sometimes it’s difficult to embrace healthy living habits if you don’t have motivation. How about finishing your manuscript in a few months and getting it published? Is that enough motivation to start making some changes to your lifestyle? It was for me!
There are some tricks to making lifestyle changes easier and less painful.
Creating New Habits
Focus on one habit at a time. Choose one. For example, you might add exercise to your day and focus on that habit first. Give yourself at least two weeks to fully embrace that habit before you add another one to your life.
Ease into it. You might be the kind of person to dive right into the pool. That’s not me. I don’t like any sort of physical shock, it makes me pissy. I’d much rather transition into a new habit. So if that means exercising every day, I might start by taking a ten minute jog and gradually increase my time until I’m jogging twenty or thirty minutes a day. If you are the type to just get over with and don’t want to transition into a new habit – more power to you! You have my admiration.
Forgive yourself. You will make mistakes. If you don’t forgive yourself for those mistakes, you might just give up. There’s a lot on the line here. You are striving to make sure you have tons of energy so you can find some sort of balance to manage your personal and professional responsibilities while also making time to work on your writing career. (The side benefit is improved health.) When you make a mistake, learn from it and continue moving forward.
Finally, Pay attention to your personality, values, needs, goals and motivations. This insight will help you create habits and systems that support you to achieve your romance writing aspirations.
To your success!