Writing Well

Have you noticed when you’re tired or zapped by stress, your writing could be better? Good news, you’ve found the link between your wellbeing and writing. Why good news? Because if you’ve tried everything else to improve your writing, the answer might be as simple as your running shoes.

After five hours sleep, caffeine for breakfast, and no physical movement—at times some writers (this one included!) face the blank page and wonder, “Why can’t I write today?” which reveals the basics: sleep, diet, and exercise. Of course we can go further into health, but these are the essentials.

Writing is brainwork which demands energy. But not just any energy—the steady kind which arrives throughout the day. Think, larger, high-protein breakfast with a smaller lunch and dinner. We can also avoid snacks to send meal-time energy to the brain and skip sugar and coffee to beat “the slump” confused with “writer’s block”.

Then, to function well our brain needs ample oxygen and good circulation—regular exercise is the answer. A healthy routine balances desk hours and benefits our deadlines. So, whilst it’s tempting to skip and finish that last paragraph, time spent exercising brings dividends.

Good writing is about processing impressions for our reader’s benefit. Do you find when you’re doing something else—perhaps hiking, swimming, or a dance class—that precious idea appears out of nowhere? You’re not alone. Added to this, they say a change is as good as a rest, sometimes just what our writing needs to progress.

Writing well isn’t about being perfect—it’s about helping ourselves to write. So, more good news: if you’re skipping healthy food, exercise, and sleep, then better writing awaits, overnight. Picture yourself rested, exercised, and well nourished and it’s easy to imagine your writing at its best.