The Healthy Writer by Jill James

Writers are always given advice; butt in chair, hands on keyboard. Which is really great to build your backlist, not so great for your backside. Sometimes we get into the zone and we forget to take care of ourselves.

I’ve been ‘in the zone,’ which makes great word count, but I’ve looked up after a marathon run of 5,000 words and realized I haven’t stretched, breathed right, or had water in a couple of hours. Not good!

stretchSo, what to do? My desk faces a window, so I tape reminders on the window. I look up to think of the next line and there is Stretch!! staring me in the face. I bring two bottles of water up to my office and try to remember to drink them. Nothing like a potty break to get you moving and stretching. 🙂

A kitchen timer is a great thing to keep butt in chair and as a reminder to get butt out of chair. I do 45/15 minute sections of time, all day long. It means I get a nice word count for the day and also some movement. A win/win situation for any writer.

Did you move and stretch today?


About Jill James

Jill is a self-published author with The Lake Willowbee Series and numerous other books in paranormal romance and zompoc romance. She enjoys reading just as much as writing. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter @jill_james
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16 Responses to The Healthy Writer by Jill James

  1. Tori Scott says:

    I keep water at hand at all times, but those potty breaks are about the only time I get up unless I’m cooking lunch. I do my writing very late at night, so I have few reasons to get up. I need to start setting a timer, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. susanrhughes says:

    I’ve heard you should not sit for more than 20 minutes at a time. I try to remember to get up and walk around a bit, but too often forget.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jill James says:

      If I only did 20 minutes at a time I would never make word count.

      Liked by 1 person

      • E. Ayers says:

        When I was doing my day job, we were given the 20/20 rule. Work for 20 minutes and stop for 20 seconds, Look at least 20 feet away from the computer. It’s healthier for your eyesight! Stand and stretch or at least do something different for 20 seconds.

        When work for many of us anymore means sitting in a gopher hole in front of a computer, it’s important to stand, stretch, do a few shoulder rolls, and look across the room. Then go back to what you were doing. 20 seconds isn’t enough to break your concentration, but it does eliminate lots of other problems. This 20 second activity is supposed to eliminate some serious health issues.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Carol says:

    Guilty of not moving around as much as I should. I also have left my timer by the wayside. I need to dust it off and use it! Another great way is to sprint with other writers. Time is usually from 30-45 minutes, with a 15 minute break.


  4. stephaniequeen says:

    I am not naturally good at sitting in my chair for long periods–I don’t do marathon writing. This is not so good for word count, but just fine for my butt (theoretically). I tend to write in sprints and try to do multiple writing sessions a day. My longest stint is 1.5 hours at a shot generally (which is still long enough to have dinner burning on the stove and muscles kinked up).
    So I hear you about the need for taking breaks, but I need the blog about how to stay put even more!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. leighmorgan1 says:

    I spend too much time in the chair and not enough time stretching. I’m training 3x a week in karate and another 2 in weapons and I delude myself that this is enough…that’s changing Monday! 🙂 Thanks for the post, Jill. Informative and spot on, as always!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Joan Reeves says:

    Jill, that is a great tip about putting reminders on the window. I’m going to do that today because I get trapped when I’m lost in the zone and forget to do any of those good things.


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