Take it on the Run: Writers are Athletes

…Well, in a way. I’m sure some of us could actually get out there and climb mountains, swim the English Channel, etc. I definitely wouldn’t cop to such abilities, but all the same, I am beginning to appreciate that there is a physical level to being an author. I experience my share of days when I have not gotten enough sleep, have not eaten right, or have some other physical ailments bothering me. I find that those days coincide with the worst of brain hazes, the worst possible days for getting something done. Those are the ones where I often throw up my hands and feel lucky to have written anything at all.

It took me some time to make the connection between self-care (or lack thereof) and this brain haze. I suspect this has something to do with my own pattern of ignoring my own needs and thinking that I’m some weird superman that can withstand things that even normally functioning people can’t endure for very long. It’s a lifelong habit that I’ve worked very hard to break, and will continue to fight all of my life, but at least I find myself aware of it these days, and was able to connect lack of self-care to those same days where I just couldn’t write.

When you think about it, it makes the most sense. The brain is the most energy-intensive organ, and keeping it operating in tip-top shape (which writing well demands – that and more sometimes) requires not just caloric intake but the right kind of caloric intake. Sugar and carbs will have a short-term effect, sure, but the brain needs more. The right kinds of oils, amino acids, and vitamins that deliver the right ingredients for sharp brain function. Continue reading