Friday, February 20, 2015

Running out of steam? Try this! #writinglife

There are as many different ways to approach writing as there are writers. Everyone eventually settles into their own routine using their own method. However, there is one common concept that runs across all genres. You can't be a writer without being a workaholic!

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

This career requires determination, sacrifice, and a lot of work. Increased competition demands more from writers than ever before. When self-published authors can put out books at will, the idea of releasing only a single title per year doesn't cut it anymore. Most authors I know are cranking out three to five even when they're traditionally published.

Most authors also have a full-time job doing something other than publishing. That leaves even less time for relaxing. With so much to do and only so many hours, sleep is often the first casualty and that can make everything worse. Studies show lack of sleep makes you less productive and less able to focus, meaning all those lost hours of sleep aren't equating to the same amount of quality work. 

Like many people, I have a chronic illness that keeps me running at far less than 100 percent. Several months ago, things took a dive and left me with even less energy than usual. I spent a few weeks perfecting an octogenarian shuffle and taking naps to recover from a trips to the grocery store before things settled to my current state of exhaustion. Sick or not, I still have a full-time job to do and books to write. I'm not a special case. There are millions of people like me and 'chronic' means you can't put things on hold and hope you'll feel better later. There is no such thing as better. Regardless of the excuse, publishing doesn't make allowances for illness or even catastrophe. You either finish the books and do the necessary marketing or watch your sales plummet.

Thank goodness for coffee naps! 

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

It's no secret I'm a big fan of coffee. It's my favorite comfort food and better at lifting my mood than anything else. On the other hand, I haven't been a fan of naps since I was two. It always seemed like a big time commitment for very little payoff since I usually woke up more tired than when I went to sleep. Apparently, that's because I was doing it wrong.

Studies show that shorter naps are better. Even 10 minutes boosts productivity and focus. Coffee naps take that natural boost to the next level. The theory is that it takes 20 minutes for the caffeine in your cup to kick in, which leaves plenty of room for a nap. You slam a mug of coffee (or a shot of espresso), find a quiet place to curl up, put your mental to-do list on pause, and set a timer for 10-15 minutes. By the time you wake up, the coffee is metabolized, and you're ready to go. 

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

After several months of almost daily naps, I can testify that the studies are right. It's amazing the difference those 10 minutes make, even without the coffee. The next time you're blinking at the screen trying to force your eyes open through another hour of editing, take a break, take a nap, and try again. You'll be surprised how much it helps.

Read the Saving Liam Series today!
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