Care And Feeding Of A Writer: Writer Wellness

(Author’s note: this is an ongoing series on how to combat everyday obstacles and other setbacks to the creative process. If there’s a specific topic you’d like me to discuss, let me know in the comments.)

We’re all guilty of taking less that ideal care of ourselves from time to time, or even falling into bad habits that last for weeks or months; we stay up too late, eat too much junk, and engage in a host of other bad behaviors. Yes, we’re only human, and yes, bad habits can be overcome, but us creative types need to be especially cognizant of our well-being. It’s hard to be creative when you’re feeling “off”, and that can lead to substandard work, missed deadlines, and all sorts of complications.

I was going to post my writing schedule for the rest of 2015, but I didn’t want to scare anyone. Basically, I have four ongoing series and a crap ton of short stories in the pipeline, and that’s enough to drive anyone to drink. In addition to my crazy schedule, I’m also taking care of my family, managing my home, working a day job, and I’ll be starting grad school next month. Basically, I can’t afford to bring anything less than my A game, or the domino effect from missed deadlines could be catastrophic.

A few months ago my day job transitioned to a virtual office, which means that I now work from home. I saw this as not only a great way to save on gas, but also the ideal time to make changes to my routine.

I started small, and upgraded what I eat. At the office cafeteria I would typically get a sausage, egg, and cheese sandwich for breakfast; now, I have oatmeal and a glass of vegetable juice (yes, I like vegetable juice). Since I now have time to go to the farmer’s market, I always have plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables on hand for snacks and salads. Over the past few months my junk food habit has become almost nonexistent.

Once my eating habits improved, I took stock of how much time I spend sitting. Pretty much everything I do, from my day job to writing to school, is accomplished by me sitting in front of a computer. This is unhealthy for a number of reasons, but the fix is pretty easy: step away from the computer. I make a habit of getting up once an hour and moving around; sometimes I go outside with the kids, or I might do something as mundane as put in a load of laundry. Those short bursts of activity really do add up, and keep the blood–and creativity–pumping.

The third change I made involves sleep. Some of my friends joke that I don’t sleep, which is close to the truth. My natural rhythm is to sleep from midnight to around six am, and I feel fully rested after six hours–usually. There are times I need more, such as after a multi-day event or if I’m coming down with something, but the problem was that I wasn’t letting myself get the extra rest when I needed it. That, coupled with the fact that I love getting up early and writing while the house is quiet meant that I was driving myself to near-exhaustion, and ending up losing days while I recovered.

So how did i conquer that obstacle? No, I didn’t start going to bed earlier. What I did do was schedule breaks in my day, two half hour chunks where I give myself permission to do nothing. No computer or phone is allowed during this time, but other than that I do whatever I want. I might nap, or read, or make Play-Doh. These short breaks recharge me almost as much as a full night’s sleep, which is a pretty good return on investment 🙂

Based on my rigorous unscientific research, here are my three rules for writer wellness:

1. Eat some vegetables every day.

2. Move around often.

3. Rest when you need it.

What are your wellness habits? Let us know in the comments!

A mad king. An escaped slave. One warrior to save the realm…

Heir to the Sun – available everywhere June 1, 2015. Add it to your Goodreads shelf here.

Like it on Facebook here.

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Full Pi-Con Schedule, Including A Writing Workshop And A Reading

Hey all! If you’re going to be in the Windsor, CT area from July 31 – August 2, swing by Pi-Con! It’s a great convention that celebrates many forms of geekery, from science to filk to cosplay. Their slogan is “the friendliest little convention in New England”, and they live up to it. Learn more about the awesomeness that is Pi-Con here.

I’ve got my full schedule listed below. Hope to see you there!

FRI 10:40 am Everything But the Writing

Jennifer Allis Provost, Trisha J. Wooldridge
There are lots of great workshops to help your craft, but what about actually selling your writing and making money? Let’s take a look at what else you need to know to be a professionally published author from queries to organizations, contracts and rights* to filing taxes**. * and **–Neither Trish nor Jenn are lawyers or tax advisors; we’re just giving you basic info.

FRI 1:00 pm World Building

Jennifer Bresnick (M), Dee Carter, Jennifer Allis Provost, Kristi Petersen Schoonover
The panelists will explore the many aspects of building believable worlds for your stories and novels. How does the writer do this?

FRI 4:00 pm Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy

Susan Hanniford Crowley, Bianca D’Arc, Gordon Linzner (M), Jennifer Allis Provost
The panelists will look specifically at how to write successful science fiction and fantasy. What traits are specific to this genre? What are the challenges?

SAT 11:00 am The Books You Read Under the Covers

We all have “guilty pleasures”–books that we love and follow and re-read but feel just a little shy about confessing to. Time to ‘fess up! What books feed something in your soul, in defiance of others’ opinions of them? And why do those books just do it for you? (60 mins)
Susan de Guardiola, Lisa Evans (M), Jennifer Allis Provost

SAT 2:00 pm The Inklings

Imagine if your book club included J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. That was the Inklings, who met in or near Oxford in England in the 1930s and 1940s. Just how influential were they? And how many of us would visit them if we found a time machine? (60 mins)
Nicholas Checker (M), Heather Dawn, Lisa Evans, Jennifer Allis Provost

SAT 5:00 pm SF/F/H TV of the 90s

As cable came into its own, many shows were developed and broadcast by smaller networks, like the WB, or produced by studios and sold for syndication. The 1990s saw a strong trend toward paranormal shows, with vampires and witches all over the dial. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Forever Knight, Charmed, a prime-time revival of Dark Shadows, Kindred: the Embraced, Angel, Xena, Hercules, Highlander (both of them), Early Edition, ST: Deep Space Nine, ST: Voyager…let’s share the our thoughts on the best, the worst, and the unfairly unnoticed. (60 mins)
Michael McAfee, Jennifer Pelland (M), Jennifer Allis Provost, Dr. James Prego

SAT 8:00 pm Romance and Specfic–What’s the Overlap?

Romance is the most consistently successful fiction genre, partly because it’s so broad and includes so many subcategories. “Paranormal romance” and romantic fantasy include many spec-fic elements, and SF romance exists, too. How far does romance overlap with spec-fic, and is there a gray area for books that aren’t quite either, but are a little of both? (60 mins)
D.L. Carter, Susan Hanniford Crowley (M), Lisa Evans, Jennifer Allis Provost

SUN 10:00 am What the NA is That?

“New Adult” is the most recent sub-category of fiction. Is it just YA with some sex thrown in, or is it really aimed at a unique audience and their concerns? (60 mins)
Nicholas Checker (M), Vikki Ciaffone, Kate Kaynak, Jennifer Allis Provost

SUN 11:00 am It Drives Me Nuts When Writers Do This!

Killing off characters, using bad language, gratuitous sex and violence, not enough sex and violence, writing in the present tense, getting all meta?what are your literary pet peeves? Come and vent! (60 mins)
Grant Carrington, D.L. Carter, Jennifer Allis Provost, Suzanne Reynolds-Alpert (M)

SUN 12:00 pm Reading

I’ll be reading my favorite passage from Heir to the Sun.

ProvostHeirToTheSun

A mad king. An escaped slave. One warrior to save the realm…

Heir to the Sun – available everywhere June 1, 2015. Add it to your Goodreads shelf here.

Like it on Facebook here.

Summer Sale!

Hey all!

As most of you are aware, I’m a freelance publicist and editor as well as a writer. Since summer is such a great time to send your work off to be wrangled by someone else (leaving you with time to enjoy the sun), I’m running a sale on my editing rates. Just contact me via this form and mention “summer sale”.

What will these shiny new rates be, you ask? Here are the sales priced critiques rates:

Query letter and first three chapters: $50  $25

Full manuscript critique, 60k – 100k words: $150  $100

Full manuscript critique, more than 100k words: $200  $150

I know, wicked cheap.

In other news, Heir to the Sun is now free for Kindle Unlimited, and Prime members can borrow it for free! What a great way to dive into a new series. Remember, if you read it please leave a review. they’re like crack for writers.

Take care, and enjoy the sun!

ProvostHeirToTheSun

A mad king an escaped slave. One warrior to save the realm...

Heir to the Sun – available everywhere June 1, 2015. Add it to your GoodReads shelf here.

Like it on Facebook here.

 

 
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