Joy Held's Writer Wellness

"Be well, write well."

Monday Meditation: National Library Week 2012

National Library Week, you belong at your library, April 8-14, 2012

“You belong at your library” is an appropriate slogan for this year’s National Library Week celebration. Honestly, go to the library and once you get past the humility of the massive collection of knowledge and ideas all in the same place, look around at everything available to everybody from the casual reader catching up on the daily news to the college professor checking on resources for a class he’s teaching next semester. The point is that EVERYBODY belongs at the library. Everybody, that is, who respects the principle of freedom to access information. Lack of respect for the contents, the people, the equipment, the facilities, or the ideas will get you rightfully tossed out the front door by the gatekeeper known as the Librarian. It’s a tough job monitoring knowledge, keeping it as safe as possible from abuse, staying on top of current information techniques, and exploding technology. But most librarians are fantastic people with a lot on their plates but always willing to help when asked a question. Granted, we’ve all run into the crusty book warden who is a bit ragged around the edges, but the librarian is a jewel and should be treated like the most precious brooch in the collection. After all, she opens the doors everyday and believes in the same thing writers do: knowledge and ideas are only valuable when they are shared.

 

I have soooo many great librarian stories to share that one week isn’t enough. So here is a brevity list of all the ways libraries and librarians have been a great help to my careers as teacher and writer.

 

#A librarian near my hometown helped me access a primary source that inspired my first romance novel. If it weren’t for this particular special collections and this wonderful woman who let me read “The Message to Garcia” by Elbert Hubbard (1899), my novel wouldn’t have the historical accuracies it does.

 

#When my children were young and learning to love reading and writing, a wonderful junior librarian named Brenda made a point to find out what interested them and ordered books year after year that kept them coming back until they moved away for college.

 

#My favorite aunt is a school librarian.

 

#Doug at the college library where I teach never fails to amaze me at how quickly and efficiently he responds to my requests for materials no matter where on Earth they’re located.

 

I’ll save more library/librarian kudos for the rest of the week. What’s your library story?

 

Happy National Library Week 2012. Hug a library every day.

There are five primary areas of practice to the Writer Wellness plan. Every other week I will post an idea for relaxation (Monday Meditation,) creative play (Tuesday Tickle,) fitness and exercise (Wednesday Workout,) journaling and misc. (Thursday Thought,) and nutrition (Friday Feast.)

 

Meanwhile, remember to look for a digital or print copy of Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity at Who Dares Wins Publishing, http://whodareswinspublishing.com.

Be well, write well.

Joy E. Held

1 Comment »

Thursday Thot: Triumph In Spite It All

Writers wrestle in solitary confinement to create work worthy of distribution to the masses.  We listen to our guts writhe and dare to write down the utterances.  We literally tap into the deepest seams of human components and release the secrets of the spirit in print for everyone to see.  Such creatures would be “pedastalized” in a truly free and creative world.  But we aren’t.

Writers are eccentric.  Writers are different.  You never know where a writer’s mind is even if you are standing in front of her looking into her eyes.  Significant others just get used to it. Even though the whole world relies on some aspect of a writer’s abilities, the writer is sectioned off “to work”, but really to put us where they can keep an eye on us!  Lest we indulge in daydreaming, talking to ourselves, or something worse like the historical bad writer habits of alcohol or drugs. 

Almost everyone knows of Hemingway’s alcohol problems or Poe’s drug abuse.  Why does the world have this negative image of writers?  Because history has a passion for emphasizing the foibles of the greats in an attempt to claim, “He was a great writer in spite of his flaws.” 

Flaws.  Imperfections.  Blemishes.  This is the stuff that makes us individuals, that makes us lovable, that gives writers a different perspective on the world.  A writer’s vantage point is precisely where her voice emanates.  What makes a writer is someone who notices that their voice and their turn of mind come from the same immeasurable place.  When I wrote my first short story in grade school from the outlook of two shoes talking to each other in a dark shoe box, I heard my voice for the first time.  Writers can see, feel, think, smell, and hear the worlds of other people and objects.  It’s what we do.

“I’m a writer.  I use everything,” said Truman Capote.  To truly be a writer, regardless of genre, you must ‘muse’ everything in your world and in your mind to the advantage of your craft.  It’s a task that comes easier for some writers than others.  It’s a question of listening and being open to what you hear.  How can you evolve into the grand writer you desire to be?  By leading a daily life devoted to expanding your body, mind, and spirit in every sense of the word.  By following the way of Writer Wellness.

The idea of Writer Wellness happened to me because of a hectic schedule and the natural instinct to “use everything” around me to create my writing.  When I was expecting my first baby, I published a magazine article about continuing to run a dance studio while pregnant.  When a guest artist taught classes at our local community theatre, I published an article about his career on Broadway.  When my life got wonderfully full of children, a household, work, and writing deadlines, I organized a system that would allow me to listen to my inner and outer worlds and maintain my writing voice.

Writer Wellness is composed of regular practices of journal writing, exercise, relaxation, nutrition, and creative play.  For example, depending on my schedule, my daily journal entry may be three pages long or just the front of an index card.  Exercise is either walking the dog, yoga practice, cardio equipment, or walking.  I ALWAYS find at least five minutes a day to close my eyes and meditate.  The food I eat is simple and grown as locally as possible.

Writer Wellness evolved from a personal habit to a community program and then into a book.  I follow the principles and guide others to do the same.  It’s a simple, developmental approach that any writer can try in any degree.  The results are tumultuous productivity and long term good health.  And triumph over flaws by using what you know as a writer to make your life and writing better.

How did you triumph over some imperfections to become who you are today?

There are five primary areas of practice to the Writer Wellness plan. Every other week I will post an idea for relaxation (Monday Meditation,) creative play (Tuesday Tickle,) fitness and exercise (Wednesday Workout,) journaling and misc. (Thursday Thought,) and nutrition (Friday Feast.)

Meanwhile, remember to look for a digital or print copy of Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity at Who Dares Wins Publishing, http://whodareswinspublishing.com.

Be well, write well.

Joy E. Held

 

3 Comments »

Wednesday Workout: You Are Your Body’s Mechanic

“Start a physical activity program, and keep exercising consistently.” ~Practical Stress Management, John A. Romas and Manoj Sharma

 The Oxford dictionary defines machine as “…an apparatus using or applying mechanical power and having several parts, each with a definite function and together performing a particular task.”

The Oxford dictionary defines mechanical as “…relating to physical forces or motion, physical.” If something is mechanical, it is physical.

I propose to you that your body is a machine. You only have to know the basics about machinery to understand that if the machine and its parts are not cared for and maintained, the machine breaks down, is unable to perform its duties and functions. The machine stops working satisfactorily unless it is kept in working order. It has to be taken care of. That is the job of the mechanic.

Your body is your machine and you are its primary mechanic. One of the actions you need to apply to your body machine is that of physical exercise because as the definition of mechanical states, “…relating to physical forces or motion, physical,” the mechanics of your body uses movement to function and requires movement to stay in working order. Regular physical exercise is one way to maintain your body’s overall health.

Think for a minute about eating. The digestion process involves chewing, swallowing, breaking down, distributing, and discarding the resultant waste products. Those are all verbs and verbs are action words. Every system in your body is about movement. It makes sense that movement is the body’s best ally when it comes to achieving optimum health and thereby dealing successfully with stress. Exercise is an amazing tool to deal with stress. Why?

Review points in the U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on physical activity (2004).

“The chief benefits of regular physical activity include:

+Prevention and control of coronary heart disease, stroke, non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, hypertension, osteoporosis, colon cancer, depression, anxiety, and obesity

+Improved heart, lung, and circulatory system function

+Better balance of blood lipids as a result of increasing “good cholesterol,” and lowering “bad cholesterol”

+Improved quality of life

+Enhanced functional independence

+Mental well-being

+Counterbalancing of adverse effects due to stress

+Improved self-esteem

+Maintenance of appropriate body weight

+Slowing down of adverse effects of aging such as memory loss

+Overall improved life expectancy.”

There are eleven positive benefits of regular physical activity listed. Eight of those eleven are related to emotional standards of health. If your emotions are in good health, so is your body. While physical exercise contributes immensely to the overall well being of a person in the mechanical sense, it contributes immensely to how we feel about ourselves and how much control we have over our lives. When we are in control of our lives through the use of healthy options such as exercise, eating right, and accomplishing goals, we are less stressed. Physical exercise gives us a sense of control over ourselves, our situations, and our choices.

What’s most important to remember about how exercise helps us deal with stress besides endorphins, neurogenesis, avoiding disease, and weight management is that regular physical exercise enhances our underlying self-respect. That intangible area of how we feel about ourselves is inexplicably linked to whether we exercise or not. Plain and simple.

Nineteenth century German philosopher Rudolf Steiner is believed to have said, “The first sign of life in a human is movement. The first sign of death in a human is lack of movement.” Our very survival is all about movement. It only makes sense that exercise be an important component of that survival.

What is your plan for exercise today?

There are five primary areas of practice to the Writer Wellness plan. Every other week I will post an idea for relaxation (Monday Meditation,) creative play (Tuesday Tickle,) fitness and exercise (Wednesday Workout,) journaling and misc. (Thursday Thought,) and nutrition (Friday Feast.)

Meanwhile, remember to look for a digital or print copy of Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity at Who Dares Wins Publishing, http://whodareswinspublishing.com.

 Be well, write well

       Joy E. Held

3 Comments »

Tuesday Tickle: Brain Power From Puzzles

Creative people need brain power. Brain power brings the good ideas out in the open so we can shape and form them into novels, paintings, or whatever medium it is we work with. Besides inspiration and the right foods, our mental faculties need regular workouts to stay sharp and focused so we can recognize a good idea when we see it. Puzzles are a quick and easy way to keep our thinking powerful. 

How and why do puzzles help our brains stay alert and focused? The brain’s mini-computer runs on “software” much like our laptops and other digital thinking tools. Our brains require attention, processing, cognitive flexibility, the ability to retrieve stored information, and reasoning skills to get us through our basic day. These functions need regular challenge and are strengthened and more readily available to us if we remember to weave brain exercises into our lives.

Schedule creative play and work puzzles on a regular basis and your brain skills will remain sharp and intact for much longer. We all have so much on our plates these days that working a puzzle for brain training rarely crosses our fuzzy minds. Keep it simple and play games on your cell phone, carry around a small word puzzle book, and keep puzzles readily available in the house where it will allow you take just a few minutes on a regular basis and work it out.

Here’s an interactive word search puzzle using words from the Writer Wellness plan to get you started. It’s fun. Try it and then look for other puzzling ways to keep your brain humming. What is your favorite kind of puzzle and why?

Writer Wellness Interactive Word Search Puzzle

 http://www.wordsearchmaker.net/wordsearchplayer.aspx?puzzleid=42e906f1-39ae-431c-ba09-3847845e5b61

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There are five primary areas of practice to the Writer Wellness plan. Every other week I will post an idea for relaxation (Monday Meditation,) creative play (Tuesday Tickle,) fitness and exercise (Wednesday Workout,) journaling and misc. (Thursday Thought,) and nutrition (Friday Feast.)

Meanwhile, remember to look for a digital or print copy of Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity at Who Dares Wins Publishing, http://whodareswinspublishing.com.

Be well, write well.

Joy E. Held

5 Comments »

Friday Feast: Mash-ups and kiss-ups

In blog-quistics, a mash-up is a post about the interesting things you’ve seen and read and learned on other people’s blogs. Links are provided to help spread the love so your readers can click and experience the same great bloggers you’ve been cyber stalking. I tend to think of it as a kiss-up blog because it usually turns out to be one big love-fest where I say nice things about someone’s blog and they leave a comment saying “thanks, and what a great blog you have,” and someone else says “thanks for the link, I really enjoyed that article,” and someone else tweets the link and so on. What’s wrong with that? Nothing, but being nice is still a way to make people suspicious of you. “Smile and everyone wonders what you’ve been up to.” What’s wrong with being nice? I know a lawyer who paradoxically has a bumber sticker on his car that reads, “Mean people suck.” Why do we expect meanness and grumpiness? Sadly it’s because everyone has their force shield up all the time because all we ever hear about are the poopy things. Sure the news channels tack on a “feel good” piece at the end of the show, but it is outnumbered every half-hour by the depressing, sad, frightening, disheartening stories. So we are trained by our media consumptions that what’s important, what should be top of the news list is death, destruction, and disorderliness. There is certainly enough out there to be the lead story every news hour, but where is the balance? It’s in the small, individual efforts of bloggers and bloggettes to kiss-up to each other and emphasize the good at the top of the hour instead of the poopy. Will you take up the banner with me and post your own mash-up and show some love? I always list my compadres at Who Dares Wins Publishing in links and every blog I post. We’re a team. Who’s on your team? Below you’ll find some of the places I planted my eyes recently and appreciated the thoughts. Check them out and tell them I sent you!

Joanna Aislinn guest blogJoanna Aislinn has just started a brilliant series about discipline and control. Read a little bit before you think it’s not something you’d be interested in.  http://joannaaislinn.wordpress.com/2012/02/28/finally-that-new-series-i-promised-discipline-v-control/

Donna Ballman is a lawyer (no it’s not her bumper sticker) with a blog specifically for writers. She writes about the most fascinating things that will help with writing about the law in fiction or non-fiction. She’s is a great writer and makes the complicated easy to understand. http://writereport.blogspot.com/

Jane Friedman has a great post about writer’s websites that is concise and helpful. I enjoyed it alot. http://janefriedman.com/2012/02/27/effective-author-website/

There are five primary areas of practice to the Writer Wellness plan. Every other week I will post an idea for relaxation (Monday Meditation,) creative play (Tuesday Tickle,) fitness and exercise (Wednesday Workout,) journaling and misc. (Thursday Thought,) and nutrition (Friday Feast.)

Meanwhile, remember to look for a digital or print copy of Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity at Who Dares Wins Publishing, http://whodareswinspublishing.com.

And check out these great blogs for ideas to keep your writing and publishing healthy and prosperous.

http://writeitforward.wordpress.com/ Bob Mayer

http://jenniholbrooktalty.wordpress.com/ Jenni Holbrook

http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/ Kristen Lamb

http://inspiration4writers.blogspot.com/ Inspiration for Writers, Inc.

http://pentopublish.blogspot.com/ Natalie Markey

http://amyshojai.com Amy Shojai

Check out my new website Joy E. Held

Have you subscribed to this Writer Wellness blog yet? Get email updates when a new post is added. Click “subscribe” and leave your email. That’s it and thanks in advance!

1 Comment »

Thursday Thot: Filling the well

Look around. Is your work…well, is it ‘work’ and not one exciting, innovative creation after another? Could your material be so predictable that you are in what dancer/choreographer Twyla Tharp calls “a false start?” Tharp defines a “false start,” or a creative rut as different from being blocked and most definitely different from being in a good groove. “A rut is the part of the journey where you’re spinning your wheels, spitting out mud behind you, splattering other people, and not going anywhere. You know you’re in a rut when you annoy other people, bore your collaborators and supporters, fail to challenge yourself, and get the feeling that the world is moving on while you’re standing still. You may also feel that you’ve been here before; déjà vu, with some flop sweat on the side, is a sure sign of a rut. Perhaps the surest sign is a feeling of frustration and relief when you’re done (“Boy, I’m glad that’s over!”) rather than anticipatory pleasure (“I can’t wait to get back here tomorrow.”) Call it consistency, following a syllabus, or teaching a “graded system,” you know when your work is dry and uninspired. It happens to everyone. Don’t worry. There are some simple ideas to help refresh your artistry and renew the feeling of, “I love being me!” that every creative person knows.

If the inspiration inclination has temporarily slipped away and writing another page feels like pulling teeth (your own,) it could be a simple matter of needing to “fill the well” as writer Julia Cameron refers to in her book “The Artist’s Way.” Cameron says that the artist’s brain relies on images and that creativity is sometimes blocked or stymied by a lack of artistic brain food. Cameron recommends regular “artist dates” with yourself to “restock the pond” of artful ideas you seem to be lacking.

For an artist date, you simply schedule yourself to attend a thought provoking artistic event like a gallery opening or orchestra concert and ingest the sensations all around to help replenish your own source of creative energy. Cameron suggests a habitual practice of artist dates until you understand the ebb and flow of your creativity and how to use the work of other inspired creators to support your own creations.

When I first tried the regular artist date, it annoyed me because I felt like I was being taken away from my own work. Cameron and Tharp both claim that resistance is a sure sign that a respite is most assuredly the best medicine. After a year of consistently attending art shows, poetry readings, and independent film showings, I noticed a rush of recurrent creativity to the point where I can hardly keep up with myself today!

I heard a lecture by children’s author Phyllis Reynolds Naylor who summed up how I feel. Someone asked her what she did for writer’s block. “I don’t have writer’s block,” she said. “I have so many ideas floating around in my head all the time that I have writer’s diarrhea!” I now have a habit of enjoying the work of other artists and I’m positive it contributes to my never-ending flow of creativity and ideas.

Inspiration is always available to the artist who understands that creativity is a process dependent on many details. Here are some ideas to consider.

Low budget

1) Read books and magazines on creativity.

2) Start a journal. You will be amazed at the creative freedom you can experience from a regular habit of journaling.

3) Find an online community of artists and communicate.

4) Attend free art events like gallery showings, outdoor concerts, and crafts fairs.

Medium budget

1) Take classes from another local teacher. Online classes are getting better and better. Try one of the online workshops at Who Dares Wins Publishing www.whodareswinspublishing.com. Learning rejuvenates the creative spirit.

2) Analyze the work of other artists. Take pencil and paper and write down what you see or read in videos and books and dissect the creativity of others. Explain to yourself why they did what they did, and then how you would have done it differently and why.

3) Attend poetry readings, art shows, etc. at the local gallery or coffee shop.

4) Cruise through a history museum or see a local theatre production. 

High budget

1) Travel to an artist’s retreat or big city where art is revered and the process is respected. Take part in performances, conferences, workshops, and activities that allow you to deeply experience the art.

2) Take college courses at home or far away that will expand your appreciation of creativity.

Meanwhile, remember to look for a digital or print copy of Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity at Who Dares Wins Publishing, http://whodareswinspublishing.com.

There are five primary areas of practice to the Writer Wellness plan. Every other week I will post an idea for relaxation (Monday Meditation,) creative play (Tuesday Tickle,) fitness and exercise (Wednesday Workout,) journaling and misc. (Thursday Thought,) and nutrition (Friday Feast.)

 

And check out these great blogs for ideas to keep your writing and publishing healthy and prosperous.

 

http://writeitforward.wordpress.com/ Bob Mayer

 

http://jenniholbrooktalty.wordpress.com/ Jenni Holbrook

 

http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/ Kristen Lamb

 

http://inspiration4writers.blogspot.com/ Inspiration for Writers, Inc.

 

http://pentopublish.blogspot.com/ Natalie Markey

 

http://amyshojai.com Amy Shojai

 

Check out my new website Joy E. Held

 

Have you subscribed to this Writer Wellness blog yet? Get email updates when a new post is added. Click “subscribe” and leave your email. That’s it and thanks in advance!

 Be well, write well.

1 Comment »

Tuesday Tickle: Whooey

“So you see, imagination needs moodling—long, inefficient, happy idling, dawdling and puttering.”

                ~Brenda Ueland, author If You Want to Write, A Book About Art, Independence and Spirit

Creative people are dependent on their imaginations. The perpetual answer to, “What if?” fuels the work of artists, choreographers, teachers, writers, and anybody who relies on ideas for sustenance. Ideas are generally responses to sensory input from the world we experience day in and day out. If all it takes is the world to stimulate creative ideas, where did the idea of “writer’s block” come from? How is it possible NOT to have something to write about if all we need is experience? Writers become too comfortable in their surroundings and what feels like consistency becomes boredom. Boredom becomes complacency. When the brain is bored it shuts down. When we stop feeding our brains a variety of sensory impulses, we go on autopilot for a while, then the ideas dry up.

In Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way, she describes a process called “filling the well” as the work creative people require on a regular, ongoing basis in order to maintain “focused attention,” or what I call awareness. Many people think they are aware, but most people are secure in their situations because they have created and repeated them over and over until the sensory organs shut down and they think they are experiencing writer’s block. While it’s popular to say you have or have had writer’s block, I think it’s a bunch of whooey. Because if we journal often enough, read plenty, exercise regularly, avoid foods that cause us problems, and engage the world in new ways then writer’s block is a myth. A writer may not have the whole story plotted out or be writing on the work-in-progress every single day, but as long as that writer keeps the keyboard tapping or the pushing the pen or the body and the mind thinking and moving, they are not blocked. Ever. How does it work?

I was in the audience at a book fair several years ago and young adult bestselling author Phyllis Reynolds Naylor was answering questions. A  young man asked what she did when she had writer’s block. Ms. Naylor responded, “I never have writer’s block. I have writer’s diarrhea. I don’t have time to write all the stories I can think of.” A very prolific writer, Naylor knew that the more she wrote the more she had to write, but everyone gets tired. That’s when the brain needs entertaining and the chance to feed itself with sights, sounds, motions, smells, and feelings it hasn’t experienced recently to shake up the creative juices and get them spilling onto the page again. This is what I refer to as creative play. It’s when a writer takes a leap out into the world and thoughtfully fills her mind with the ideas, arts, and images of other creative people.

It’s more than reading a good book or going to the movies. It’s going to museums, taking walks, taking pictures, doodling in a journal, taking a class in ceramics or ballroom dance, and attending concerts and lectures that open your awareness to the possibilities out there. The practice of creative play or “filling the well” is the opposite of what most writers do all day in their jobs. That’s primarily why it’s such a challenge. Our writing is about us and just us. We manipulate fictional lives and imaginary settings, but creative play demands we go out in the world and gain a new awareness by appreciating the work of other artists. It’s that simple. Appreciate someone else’s work in a deep, thoughtful manner on a regular basis and you will never run out of anything to write.

There are five primary areas of practice to the Writer Wellness plan. Every other week I will post an idea for relaxation (Monday Meditation,) creative play (Tuesday Tickle,) fitness and exercise (Wednesday Workout,) journaling and misc. (Thursday Thought,) and nutrition (Friday Feast.)

Meanwhile, remember to look for a digital or print copy of Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity at Who Dares Wins Publishing, http://whodareswinspublishing.com.

And check out these great blogs for ideas to keep your writing and publishing healthy and prosperous.

http://writeitforward.wordpress.com/ Bob Mayer

http://jenniholbrooktalty.wordpress.com/ Jenni Holbrook

http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/ Kristen Lamb

http://inspiration4writers.blogspot.com/ Inspiration for Writers, Inc.

http://pentopublish.blogspot.com/ Natalie Markey

http://amyshojai.com Amy Shojai

Check out my new website Joy E. Held

Have you subscribed to this Writer Wellness blog yet? Get email updates when a new post is added. Click “subscribe” and leave your email. That’s it and thanks in advance!

Be well, write well.

3 Comments »

Monday Meditation: Breath in, breath out

“When I stop, I pass out,” said one of my college hatha yoga students. That means we are out of balance. It means we have neglected the quiet, still moments in life and our energy levels are at an all time low, so our bodies seize the moment (when we stop) to knock us out cold so it can recharge. I call this backwards living because when we are going and doing constantly, it takes a punch in the belly to dump us a$$-over-tea-kettle so the body, mind, and spirit can get some rest. This is the hard way to achieve balance. In this zippy age of “just DO it,” 99% of the students I meet in yoga are looking for something to slow them down, but when they meet it head-on they resist. What we resist is what we need the most.

To look up the definition of “balance” in the dictionary would cause most people to slam the book shut and think, “How can one word have 27 different meanings? Forget it.” If we will spend a breath on the Latin (don’t freak) derivation, we’ll see that “balance” is Latin for “two scales”. Take the thoughts a bit farther and the image of the scales of justice should roll across our mind’s eye and we might take the leap to understand that “balance” is another word for “equality.” Hopefully, we think equality means giving both sides the same amount of time. It means striving to equalize our “doing” with our “being.”

We call ourselves human “beings”, but we are actually more human “doings”. Aren’t we always doing, going, getting, asking, etc. almost all the time? “Doing” is everything we’re responsible for and everyone we answer to. “Being” is much simpler. It is calming our mind until the only “doing” is breathing. Strangely, the human body, mind, and spirit react positively to an inequality of “doing” versus “being.” We can be much more active than inactive and our human carriages will show positive signs of health, but we must offer our bodies organized sessions of peace and quiet at regular intervals. In other words, it takes only a few minutes of “being” per day to balance many minutes of “doing” and we can achieve equilibrium.

The “being” is simply sitting or lying in a quiet, meditative state that is conscious relaxation when we are not talking, moving, thinking without obsessing (more on that later,) and simply appreciating the moment in which the only requirement of us is to breathe. It is not sleeping. It is conscious relaxation when our minds are focused on the breath and only the breath.

“Breath in, breath out,” is all we need to think and when something interrupts or tries to supersede that simple mantra, we do not follow its lead but continue the easy words in harmony with our natural breathing. As you breathe in, repeat to yourself, “Breath in.” As you breathe out, repeat to yourself, “Breath out.” Try it for five minutes, then ten minutes, then fifteen, and twenty minutes gradually increasing the time as you feel ready. It sounds easy, but let me know how easy it is or isn’t for you. If you’re human like the rest of us, it will present a lifelong challenge that will change your life forever and for the good.

 

 

 

 

 

There are five primary areas of practice to the Writer Wellness plan. Every other week I will post an idea for relaxation (Monday Meditation,) creative play (Tuesday Tickle,) fitness and exercise (Wednesday Workout,) journaling and misc. (Thursday Thought,) and nutrition (Friday Feast.)

 

Meanwhile, remember to look for a digital or print copy of Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity at Who Dares Wins Publishing, http://whodareswinspublishing.com.

 

And check out these great blogs for ideas to keep your writing and publishing healthy and prosperous.

 

http://writeitforward.wordpress.com/ Bob Mayer

 

http://jenniholbrooktalty.wordpress.com/ Jenni Holbrook

 

http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/ Kristen Lamb

 

http://inspiration4writers.blogspot.com/ Inspiration for Writers, Inc.

 

http://pentopublish.blogspot.com/ Natalie Markey

 

http://amyshojai.com Amy Shojai

 

Check out my new website Joy E. Held

 

Have you subscribed to this Writer Wellness blog yet? Get email updates when a new post is added. Click “subscribe” and leave your email. That’s it and thanks in advance!

Be well, write well.

2 Comments »

Friday Feast: Don’t Be A Fat-Head!

It’s definitely a derogatory slur to call someone a fathead. Let me clarify. I’m not calling you a fathead. I’m simply bringing a scientific fact to your attention: excess abdominal fat does more damage than forcing you to let out your belt another notch. Besides being dead weight it releases toxic chemicals and inflammatory molecules that can literally seep into your brain and contribute to sluggishness when you’re trying to think. And excess body weight in middle age adults has been found by a Kaiser Permanente study to increase your chances of developing dementia as you age. Yikes. Plenty of reason to reduce body fat by choosing healthier, brain-friendly food options before the goo gets trapped in your gray matter.

In a nutshell, the study discovered patients in their seventies who did not have a weight problem in their forties were less likely to have developed dementia.

“People who were obese in mid-life were 74 percent more likely to have dementia, while overweight people were 35 percent more likely to have dementia, compared to those with normal weight, said lead investigator Rachel A. Whitmer, PhD, a research scientist with the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, California.”

http://www.dor.kaiser.org/external/news/press_releases/Obesity_in_Middle_Age_Increase_Risk_of_Dementia_Later_in_Life/

Don’t think of healthy food options as cutting out your favorite foods. Think of it as replacing something high in fat that will more than likely come back to bite you later on in life only you won’t remember eating the fat or anything else if the menu continues to include high fat foods over low fat. Here are some suggestions.

In place of:                                                                    Eat instead:

corn chips                                                                     non-wheat crackers

cookies                                                                           oat granola bar

red meat burger                                                         turkey burger

Do a little bit of research. Read food labels and try to cut down on the fat intake and you’ll remember doing it later in life!

Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity

 

 

There are five primary areas of practice to the Writer Wellness plan. Every other week I will post an idea for relaxation (Monday Meditation,) creative play (Tuesday Tickle,) fitness and exercise (Wednesday Workout,) journaling and misc. (Thursday Thought,) and nutrition (Friday Feast.)

 

Meanwhile, remember to look for a digital or print copy of Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity at Who Dares Wins Publishing, http://whodareswinspublishing.com.

 

And check out these great blogs for ideas to keep your writing and publishing healthy and prosperous.

 

http://writeitforward.wordpress.com/ Bob Mayer

 

http://jenniholbrooktalty.wordpress.com/ Jenni Holbrook

 

http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/ Kristen Lamb

 

http://inspiration4writers.blogspot.com/ Inspiration for Writers, Inc.

 

http://pentopublish.blogspot.com/ Natalie Markey

 

http://amyshojai.com Amy Shojai

 

Check out my new website Joy E. Held

 

Have you subscribed to this Writer Wellness blog yet? Get email updates when a new post is added. Click “subscribe” and leave your email. That’s it and thanks in advance!

 

 

 

Be well, write well

Leave a comment »

Thursday Thot: Matches

 

“Women with clean houses do not have finished books.” ~Me

There is a wonderful chapter in the classic writing text by Brenda Ueland titled “Why Women Who Do Too Much Housework Should Neglect It for Their Writing.” The title is enough to liberate me from the toils of the home but others may need a bit more convincing. Before I encourage you, male or female, to reduce the amount of housework you do so you have more writing time, I will qualify my remarks with saying that complete abandonment of the necessary tasks to keep a dwelling sanitary is not what I’m advocating. It’s a matter of accepting other people’s help.

Ueland’s chapter is in her inspirational book If You Want To Write, A Book About Art, Independence and Spirit first published in 1938. The copy I never let get too far away is a 1987 edition, and even though she was a turn-of-the-century woman, her advice is applicable to anyone who wants to write today. Her ideas have influenced my belief that everyone is a writer to some degree. Some take it farther than others. In this clever chapter, Ueland presents the work of former writing students from her classes and shows how as women they are quite talented writers but the demands of being mothers and wives seems to prohibit them from knowing the satisfaction of publication.

Online chats and luncheon table conversations at writing conferences never fail to spend some time bemoaning the fact that women have too many household responsibilities and civic chores to get any writing done. Whooey seems to be my word of choice this week, and I repeat it here. I homeschooled my two daughters for 18 years and published a non-fiction book, finished a historical romance novel, wrote weekly columns for three regional newspapers, published many poems, published book reviews online, and wrote 1-4 articles monthly for a trade magazine all while they were sitting at their desks beside me doing social studies and English. When it was time to focus on work where I couldn’t be interrupted, I made sure they were safely ensconced and closed the office door. The sign read “Do not disturb unless it’s bleeding, broken, or on fire. Love, Mommy.”

Ueland’s advice is similar: “If you would shut your door against the children for an hour a day and say: ‘Mother is working on her five-act tragedy in blank verse!’ you would be surprised how they would respect you. They would probably all become playwrights.”

What strikes me the most honestly about her comment is that my daughters reacted this very way to this very practice. My oldest called me this week to tell me she has arranged for me to speak to the undergraduate playwriting group in her college theatre department to talk about Writer Wellness and how it applies to their future careers as writers. I didn’t intentionally set out to raise more writers. Both daughters write really well. I set out to respect myself and model what a woman with a passion for something looks like so that when they find their passions they’ll know it.

If they grow up to be writers, I won’t be disappointed. I just hope I still have their rooms relatively “clean”. It’s a feast or famine career but one that even a mother can be proud of doing.

Of course, there’s the story where one day I heard the youngest child saying, “I don’t think Mommy likes matches,” and I flung the office door open pretty quickly.

There are five primary areas of practice to the Writer Wellness plan. Every other week I will post an idea for relaxation (Monday Meditation,) creative play (Tuesday Tickle,) fitness and exercise (Wednesday Workout,) journaling and misc. (Thursday Thought,) and nutrition (Friday Feast.)

Meanwhile, remember to look for a digital or print copy of Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity at Who Dares Wins Publishing, http://whodareswinspublishing.com.

And check out these great blogs for ideas to keep your writing and publishing healthy and prosperous.

http://writeitforward.wordpress.com/ Bob Mayer

http://jenniholbrooktalty.wordpress.com/ Jenni Holbrook

http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/ Kristen Lamb

http://inspiration4writers.blogspot.com/ Inspiration for Writers, Inc.

http://pentopublish.blogspot.com/ Natalie Markey

http://amyshojai.com Amy Shojai

Check out my new website Joy E. Held

Have you subscribed to this Writer Wellness blog yet? Get email updates when a new post is added. Click “subscribe” and leave your email. That’s it and thanks in advance!

Be well, write well

Leave a comment »

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