5 survival tips for writers

Writing is a strenuous business. It taxes not only your brain but also your entire body. To survive the long haul, you need to avoid burn out and physical damage. Adopt these 5 survival tips for writers and repeat them until they form a natural part of your routine. No resistance.

Eat properly

The brain is a tyrant. It demands around 400 calories per hour when you force it to do stuff. Nobody is going to sugar-shame you or confiscate your caffeine, I promise, but your core diet must be a good one. Already I sense I’m going to have trouble prising you from your chair to get you to the kitchen. Here’s the painless way to a writer’s survival diet.

Make a pan of vegetable soup once or twice a week. Decant and store in the fridge. Eat at least one portion daily. Once it’s made…quick, see?

Buy salad and fruit. If you can’t be bothered to chop, there are the ready-prepared offerings, but make sure you eat these daily.

Other quick and nutritious brain-foods include porridge, dried fruit and nuts, and cheese (limited). Whole lentils are also good. Save the carbs for evenings because they make you sleepy.

After a week of eating like this you’ll be impressed at how you’ve kept the burn out at bay.

Pace yourself

Writing is one of the biggest time-suckers I know, along with coding, painting or any major creative endeavor. A great tip one of my tutors taught me is to use a kitchen timer. Write for 35 minutes and take 10 off. This rhythm matches the brain’s cycle. Repeat as required to extend your writing day.

Take a break

Between the 35-minute sessions, create 10-minute contrasts. Go outside. Tackle that pile of washing up. Run the hoover. Do some stretching exercises. Chop the veg for the soup. Anything to get you off your butt. Making calls is okay provided you stand or walk around. You might even end up with a finished novel and a clean house. Walk somewhere, at least three times a week, but ideally every day.

Watch your posture

Arrange your screen so it’s at eye-level. Adjust your seat height and keyboard so your fore-arms are at right angles to your body. Keep your back straight and eyes front (not looking down). Buy a separate keyboard if necessary. This posture will stop you getting neck and shoulder strain. Sitting is the new smoking. Many writers these days are shifting to the standing desks.


Skip it if you must, or if deadlines force you too, but every now and then, have a good catch up.

Writing is for life, if you want to succeed. These 5 survival tips for writers will help you stay the course. Do you have any tips you’d like to share? Send ’em in.

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