Walking My Way to Words and Miles!
I admit to being something of an evangelist on the topic of writer fitness.
Aren’t all fanatics?
Seriously, I’m so happy with the solution I’ve found to being both tethered to my desk AND needing to produce a lot of words consistently AND deal with health and weight issues, that I jumped up and down to volunteer this blog post for FFP’s Writer Fitness month.
Almost two years ago, I was really struggling with health problems. Although I worked out at the gym six days a week – both strength training and cardio – and ate a healthy diet (i.e., no fast food, no pop, reasonably lean and appropriately portioned), I remained quite stubbornly 20 pounds over the top end of my ideal BMI and my blood pressure kept climbing.
Now, I come by the blood pressure thing honestly. All the women on the maternal side of my family have it. Once we hit a certain age (*cough*), it starts climbing. Every one of several generations before mine has dropped dead of cerebral hemorrhage, too. Still, my doctors would go through all the standard points – my exercise, eating, smoking (no), alcohol (I may have fudged the numbers on this one), salt intake , everything – and nothing I did changed those numbers. I wasn’t quite high enough yet to medicate, but too high for everyone to just leave me alone about it already.
I was also working hard. I still am. Between my full-time job working from home for a Boston environmental consulting agency and really cranking to get my writing career going with some momentum, I was at my desk easily twelve hours per day. There have been a lot of articles on how sitting so much is killing us. Here’s just one recent one: http://time.com/sitting/.
At the same time, I’d just signed a three-book deal with Kensington press for my Twelve Kingdoms trilogy, which stipulated I’d be writing two more 100K+ novels in the next year. Lovely trade paperback deal with a real advance! But it came on top of the contracts I already had – such as the Covenant of Thorns trilogy that *just*wound up this month. TONS of writing to get done.
Best decision I ever made.
I got a hydraulic desk, which I can use sitting, standing or walking. The treadmill itself can be moved into place or slid to the side. It wasn’t the least expensive option, but it’s been perfect for me. Details and buy links are here: http://www.jeffekennedy.com/grand-opening-my-new-treadmill-desk/. I did a blog post at one year later, back in February, detailing my experience thus far. That’s here: http://www.jeffekennedy.com/my-treadmill-desk-one-year-later/.
Suffice to say – my weight has come down, my blood pressure has come down, I feel better, I look better – and my productivity is through the roof. I wrote just shy of 500,000 words in 2013 (497,179, to be exact) and I’ve already written 420,993 words as of September 2014, which puts me on target to exceed last year. Last month, in August of 2014, I had my best month ever: 68,050 words.
Should I tie those things together – my health and my writing productivity?
I think so.
I generally walk 5-8 miles each day and write 2-3,000 words. When I’m drafting a book, I walk at about 2.2 miles per hour and I truly believe it helps me attain that so-important trance state that enables the words to flow. The Time article touched on this but the American Psychological Association recently came out with this article http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2014/04/creativity-walk.aspx that reviews a body of research indicating that walking promotes creativity.
It absolutely works for me.
Was it difficult to learn to type while walking? Not really. My advice is to start at slower speeds and take plenty of time to build your endurance. Having a stable surface – the desk – to brace my forearms on makes a huge difference. After a while, I forget I’m walking. Now I don’t think I could go back.
I’m happy to answer any questions.
But be warned: I’m a total convert! J
Pregnant, possessed, and in love with a man I don’t dare to trust-those are the consequences of the risks I took to save my life. But Faerie, the land of blood and magic, is filled with bitter ironies, and the bargains I made now threaten me and my unborn child.
The darkly sensual fae noble Rogue still tempts me to danger and desire. As we await the birth of our child, I’ve been forced to question whether our offspring is part of a bargain Rogue once made to save himself. He can’t tell me the truth due to a spell the vicious Queen Titania has him under. Would he betray our family against his will? Could I ever forgive him if he does?
Rogue insists on an eternal commitment from me, even as Titania’s forces close in on us. I don’t know if Rogue and I can withstand her onslaught, or that of the beast within me. But I will not stop looking for answers-even if it brings the walls of Faerie crashing down.
More information (Reviews! Excerpts!) on Jeffe’s website at JeffeKennedy.com
Jeffe Kennedy is an award-winning author with a writing career that spans decades. Her works include non-fiction, poetry, short fiction, and novels. She has been a Ucross Foundation Fellow, received the Wyoming Arts Council Fellowship for Poetry, and was awarded a Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Award. Her essays have appeared in many publications, including Redbook.
Her most recent works include a number of fiction series: the fantasy romance novels of A Covenant of Thorns; the contemporary BDSM novellas of the Facets of Passion, and an erotic contemporary serial novel, Master of the Opera, which released beginning January 2, 2014. A fourth series, the fantasy trilogy The Twelve Kingdoms, hit the shelves starting in May 2014 and a fifth, the highly anticipated erotic romance trilogy, Falling Under, will release starting in July.
She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with two Maine coon cats, plentiful free-range lizards and a very handsome Doctor of Oriental Medicine.
Jeffe can be found online at her website: JeffeKennedy.com, every Sunday at the popular Word Whores blog, on Facebook, and pretty much constantly on Twitter @jeffekennedy. She is represented by Foreword Literary.