by Catherine L. Tully
Today I’m going to give advice in a different way. Over time, I’ve found out some things about being a writer that are…well…a little odd. Some of these you may already know about, while others may come as a surprise. Once you’ve read through them, feel free to add your own in the comments section…
1. Writing outside.
While this seems very romantic and “writer-ish”, it can be a real challenge. If you sit in the sun with your computer, it’s awfully hard to see the screen clearly. (I lose my mouse pointer and can’t navigate for anything.) If you set up camp at a park or in a cafe, chances are good you will have to use the bathroom in about 15 minutes or so. It always seems like a great idea, but the truth of the matter is, I get more writing done at home unless I really plan well ahead of time.
Advice: Drink sparingly before going out to write and use the facilities prior to leaving the house. Wear a baseball cap in case you find a sunny spot, and bring sunglasses. (Oh–and sunscreen too. My upper chest is currently fried from spending a whole 20 minutes outdoors in the yard with my laptop. I know I’m Irish and all, but…)
2. The Almighty Calorie.
If you’ve been writing for any length of time, this one is not a shocker. Calories seem to take on a whole new meaning when you sit for most of the day. My addiction to Mike & Ike candy must be balanced by frequent walks, trips to the gym and bursts of lifting weights at home–otherwise I will truly begin to look like the middle-aged woman that I want to keep at bay as long as possible.
Advice: Find a non-caloric beverage you like and stick to it. (Suggestions include LaCroix, coffee, iced tea and plain old water.) Break every hour and do something–anything physical. And keep celery sticks in the fridge to take the edge off. Seriously.
3. Wardrobe Issues.
Just because you can stay in your pajamas all day doesn’t mean you should do it. Writers typically have some wardrobe issues. As in, they don’t dress nice much. If you find yourself showering past noon or wearing ratty old sweats on a regular basis, you may be suffering from this problem.
Advice: Run at least one errand a day that forces you to leave the house. Shower, and get dressed for it. I’ve resolved to break out the heels here and there and dress up for lunch once a week or so, just to insure I don’t start slipping into the danger zone. You can have a day where you lounge around in your skivvies, but don’t make it a habit.
I know I haven’t covered all the odd things that pop up as you live the freelance lifestyle, so if you can add to this list, by all means, do so.
Then go for a brisk walk outside in some nice clothes. And leave the laptop at home. : )