Keeping your Health for a Marathon Month of Writing

Whether work has you swamped, daycare cancelled, or your day is filled with stuff, making time for NaNoWriMo can be challenging.

And stressful.

The stress can get a hold of you and knock you down. Your head starts to hurt, your cold kicks in, or the flu bug knocks on your door. It also happens to be cold and flu season, so the importance of keeping yourself healthy and in tip top shape is very important.

I completed NaNo back in 2013. 50,013 words in 30 days. I won’t lie, it was a challenge, but the best challenge ever. And, I kept healthy through the entire month, so I was able to finish. Winning!

Healthy tips to keep writing

I have a few tips to keep you healthy through the month of November. Not in any order. The things that are important, in my opinion.

~~ Fitness
I know, though it’s not a four-letter word, It IS a four-letter word. Fitness of any kind keeps the mind active, the blood flowing, and the creative juices moving. You are less prone to sickness and medical conditions. It puts you in a positive frame of mind, allowing your body to relax and your writing to flow.

For me, Yoga is my go-to. It’s only 20-30 minutes a day. Who doesn’t have that amount of time to give to your own well-being. I’ve become more focused, less prone to eating all the “bad” things and my moods are more positive.

That can be you too, if it’s not already.

~~ Hydration
We’ve all heard this.

First thing each morning, sip a tall glass of water until it’s empty. Your body depends on water to survive. Every cell, tissue and organs counts on it to keep it in working condition. Your body uses water to flush out waste, maintain its temperature, and keep joints lubricated.

I know what you’re thinking, “Deb, stop! I know this.” But, it’s important to hear it again.

It’s all common for us as writers, to grab that cup of coffee, when in fact, caffeine can hinder our ability to focus long term and cause dehydration.

I drink coffee. All the time. I won’t stop, and I’m sure you won’t either, but just grab that tall glass of water and drink it alongside your coffee. I mean really, who can live without coffee? Not me!

~~ Have some fun
When was the last time you just went outside, took a walk, read a book at a coffee shop, hung out with your kids at the park, or watched your favorite TV show?

For me, my fun is knitting, cross-stitching, and reading. I make it a point to do one (or all) of these things each and every day. I call it my mental health time. Time away from my keyboard, from my work as a designer, from writing.

It’s a time to be with YOU. To get away from the everyday tasks and your writing.

Why eating healthy matters

You’ll be less stressed, more productive, happier, and healthier. Your brain will have the nutrients it needs to keep you focused. Certain foods have the ability to moderate the body’s cortisol levels, which is, if you didn’t already know, your stress hormone. Managing stress through the month of November should be your key ingredient to being successful in completing your novel. It’s the number one cause of writers pulling the plug, saying it’s too much.

Some of my favorite go-to snack foods (because, who doesn’t like to snack?) are:
~Banana with honey
~Granola bites
~Apple with peanut butter (anything with peanut butter, really) It’s a great source of protein.

I’m sure you have your own favorite snack foods. Keep in mind, the more processed foods you eat, the worse you could possibly feel. The more natural, organic foods you eat, the better you’ll feel.

In conclusion, writers, you have the ability to make choices that will keep your body in tip top shape during this all-important month of writing your 50,000 words. Why wouldn’t you want to commit to YOU for the month of November? And, if you so choose, why not start now, and give yourself a head start to being healthy so you can finish. Winning at NaNoWriMo.

Write On!


Deb Buckingham headshotDeb Buckingham is a long time member of Pikes Peak Writers and a published author of two successful knitting books, Dishcloth Diva and Dishcloth Diva Knits On. She writes for her own blog, and her artistic side is part of her every day. Deb is a creative photographer whose passion is “shooting” creatives in their own studios. She enjoys reading a well written novel.