I recently finished a novel. It was a love novel, one of those ones you write because you love the subject or something about it. I love meta-fiction – it’s a meta-fiction novel.
But now that I have finished, what next? I’m now writing another novel, this one may be a series, but we will see.
I’ve come to realise that I missed the love I have for writing and words and sentences. I lost that lovin’ feeling with the publication of my novel, The Neighbour. I got all wound up in the expectations that I put on myself to promote on social media.
But I’ve wound all that back and loving writing again. What do I love? I love that every sentence is an opportunity to convey meaning – and that is simply it. I love sentences.
I love my chair, the blank page, and sentences.
I’m sharing with you my fabulous, and quick – and when I say quick I mean minutes – daily remedies that work for me, I hope they help you too.
These two simple things take a few minutes. For back health, four simple yoga exercises that are wonderful for back pain,and for mental fatigue an easy and quick meditation app.
(Photo credit: Jill Miller)
Lie on back with arms stretched out to the side
Raise right leg until pointing straight up
Move the raised leg left across the body & try to lower to the floor
Keep both shoulders on the floor
Turn your head to the right – hold for 5-20 secs then raise the leg again and lower back straight
Repeat with left leg.
2. ALTERNATE LEG STRETCH
(Photo credit: Yoga Basics)
Sit with right leg straight out in front of you, place the bottom of the left foot against the right thigh.
Slide your hands down your leg as far as you can, curling your spine, then grasp your leg where ever you are at, knee, calf, ankle – hold for a few seconds.
Repeat with other leg. Do both legs three times.
(Photo credit: Blue Osa)
Kneel on the floor
Stretch your right leg out to the right
Keep your left knee directly in line below your left hip and align your right heel with the left knee.
Place your right arm on your right leg
Bend your torso to the right, aiming to put your right ear on your right arm
Lift your left arm over your head, aiming to bring it down to the right and put palms of both hands together ( I did say aiming)
Keep facing forward, and hold it for a few seconds
Repeat on the other side
4 CROSSED KNEE BEND
(Photo credit: Yoga Journal)
Stand, and cross your right ankle over your left. Place toes beside each other
Inhale, then as you bend forward, slowly exhale and bring fingers as close to floor as you can. Let your head hang
Exhale completely, relax abdomen, wait as the abdomen is voluntarily sucked upwards
Straighten and inhale
Repeat on other leg
… and for mental health/fatigue, to take you out of that deep writer-thinking-mode and relax your brain muscles, I use a meditation app on my phone that takes ten minutes.The app is the Head Space app which has the first ten sessions for free so you can try it out. I bought the whole thing and use it most days.
What do you do for writer’s health?
There’s nothing wrong with the word ‘when’, and many many writers, including myself, use it in the way that I’m about to tell you can distance your reader from the action and lose them a little bit; they might start thinking of cats and drop the book and look around for the kitty litter tray and never come back. I’ve just read this sentence at the beginning of my chapter 9:
“When Ulrik breathes in the taste of hot dust, he remembers where he is.” And I’ve edited out two words, ‘when’ and ‘he’. “Ulrik breathes in the taste of hot dust, and remembers where he is.”
The difference is that the word ‘when’ means the action is not happening now, it happened at some time in the past or will happen some time in the future. There’s no urgency to keep reading, it’s not happening right now, and there’s probably no dire consequences bc Ulrik is perfectly fine right now. Taking out that word ‘when’ has dropped the reader right into the action.
The last thing I do before moving on to the next chapter to edit, is read that thing out loud — shut the door and say it loud! — It’s a piece of advice people give you but you never do, right? I started doing it b/c the couple of times I’ve had to record a short story for radio and podcasts, I found that in the act of doing so I picked up so many clunky phrases or yucky sentences. And it’s especially helpful if you’re a fan of sentences that have rhythm and feel good and are nice to listen to. After reading my stories for said radio/podcast I actually changed a lot of words and had to resubmit the written story. If you imagine, while reading, that it is for radio and therefore u need to pronounce clearly, it really hones in on those ugly words – and you never know when, in the future, you might have to read that out loud to someone, so best fix that shit now.
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me :0 Julie Proudfoot: @juliepoudfoots