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The Friday Five - Taking Care of Yourself

An important topic that bears discussing, especially for writers. Sometimes we forget we're not invincible because we are the masters of realms and kicker of characters. Five things you need to watch out for if you're donning your Wrimo hat next month (or any time you're furiously working on writing/revisions/edits):

Oh, goody! We're having steak.
Right? Uh... right?
#1) A subject near and dear to my heart. As we all know, unless you're on the other side of the world (lucky, lucky you), fall is here. Up next, NaNoWriMo. 30 days of uber-fast writing. Which can wreak havoc on your body in more ways than one. The first is repetitive motion injuries. I don't know if you've ever experienced tendinitis, but I've lived with it since I was a teenager, first in my left arm and wrist, but tendinitis loves for you to overcompensate with the other hand/arm too. Let me tell you what it feels like. Imagine that someone has taken a scalpel and removed your skin like a glove before laying it aside. We'll come back to it, don't worry. Then they've taken a meat tenderizer mallet and beat from your elbow to the first knuckles of your fingers. Just until the bone splinters into unrecognizable, jagged pieces. Don't make them into dust or anything. After that's done, they try to put you back together like a jigsaw puzzle, but there are too many pieces so they stuff them wherever there's a spot. Finally, they take your skin-glove and slide it back over the mess. Congratulations, you still have a hand. One that doesn't work right and every bone and muscle feels like it's on fire and in the wrong place.
Advice: You could complain to your doctor about nagging pain and numbness. And he could give you steroids or cortisone injections, neither of which will cure you, by the way. Or, like my three doctors, tell you to suck it up because it's only going to get worse. Seriously, sometimes I think about complaining to my vet, because he might be more sympathetic. Pretty much all you can do is stretch, change up your patterns, use ice or heat depending on which helps more and chow down on NSAIDs (watch out for your liver, though.) At the first signs of pain, it's probably time to take a long, long rest.

#2) With that fall weather comes cold temperatures. Our bodies are trained to like warmth (you know, to ensure our survival) and we flock indoors. Where other people are coughing and sneezing and spreading their germs to us! Oh, no. You've caught a cold. I don't need to describe this one for you, you've been there.
Advice: Stay home! Do not keep spreading the madness. It's not fair to anyone. I know there are things you have to do. Like attend a four-hour write-in with your Wrimo group, but for the love of all things sanitary, join us in spirit, okay? Drink Gatorade and chicken soup and incinerate your Kleenex's when you're healthy again. Please?

#3) Here's one we can probably all agree on, except those die-hard attention seekers that will never leave us alone. This one involves not getting the ever-loving tar beaten out of you. Because that can ruin your day, or even your life. November plays host to Election Day in Missouri. Leave your political views at home. No one wants to hear it. I particularly don't want to hear it. Like the button says: Everyone poops. Good 'nuff. I try, oh so hard, never to bring politics into my social networking. Sometimes I can't help it. I don't want to defend my reasons for anything I believe to you. I sure don't want to listen to you tell me what you believe. I'd rather listen to the dream you had last night thanks to the 12 tacos you ate and I 100% do not want to hear that (numbers 1 and 2 on the list of things that put me to sleep faster than Ambien). Nothing will get you beat up and/or dead faster than a conversation about religion or politics. Leave that to the people who write that stuff. And let it be known, there is a very slim chance I will be reading any of that. I recently read a book by one of my favorite authors who supports a cause I don't believe in. I almost put the book down. Why, that author's belief in the cause is squashing the little people like me and mine. Then I thought, meh, doesn't affect the way the authors writes. I'll pretend I didn't read it. Not everyone is a bundle of tolerance.
Advice: Let's talk about our novels, okay?

#4) Getting up and getting away from the computer might sound like something scary while you're in the throes of mad writing. But it's very important. I get my exercise, you know that. Walking to me is like bathing, except I bath more frequently than I walk. I can feel the relief rolling off of you. The point is, it's necessary. It relieves tension, helps me clear my mind, gives me stuff to look at. It provides exercise for my body and my mind. Let's don't count the number of times I've come home with scrapes, insect bites and fatigued muscles. Take a break from that novel. Your entire being will thank you. Plus, you can include the family and the pets and score some quality time. You never know, you might find something that will inspire a plot breakthrough as well. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. And then a crazy boy who tries to murder his family.
Advice: Live in the suburbs? It's called a gym, y'all. Scared of the meth-head neighbors? It's a gun and a big, mean looking dog for you. Can't walk? Get you some of those little weights and lift them up and down, or try this.

#5) You are what you eat. So... I'm chicken, pasta and french fries marinated in carbonated beverages with a cheese danish on top. Well, that's not a very appetizing picture. Sometimes (and only sometimes. I really want to emphasize that) doctors know what they're talking about. They knew about exercise, right? Occasionally, they recommend (as in every day) eating from all the food groups. If you're like me, you have no idea what the new food group guidelines are. Something to do with a plate. So you're slogging through the second week of NaNo, but ready to give up and go for that walk I was talking about in #4. Just as you close the lid on your laptop and spin your chair around, dizziness washes over you. You spot an orange that your significant other left for you (not that you remember because you didn't take my #4 advice seriously until now). With the last of your strength you peel it and bite into that tangy flesh. The day is saved. You've just eaten fruit, you now have the energy to crawl to the door and summon your loved ones, and later you will have the strength to novel on.
Advice: Pick the healthy options that taste good to you. For example, I'm never, ever, ever, never going to eat anything that has beans in it. I hate beans. My husband is allergic to beans. Beans don't come in our house. So we eat other protein-rich foods, like lean meat (stop looking at pictures of us, we know we're not exactly svelte). Instead of full fat sour cream, I can use low-fat. It's cheaper anyway. Instead of drowning myself in Mtn. Dew, I can make tea without sugar. And I should watch my caffeine intake because I'll probably drown myself in that too.

Good luck next month or whenever you're elbow deep in the guts of your novel!


  1. Great post! I do need to get back in the gym. Maybe this weekend. I would add it's probably a good idea to limit the amount of booze in the house.

  2. Haha, great post. Good luck with Nano! :)

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

  3. LOL, oh man, I love your blog posts.
    First, good luck with NaNo. I'm too weak for that sort of writing.
    So, if we are what we eat, I would be a bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich with BBQed caeser chicken wraps for arms with Oh Henry chocolate bars for legs. My head would be a pumpkin pie, my hair would be made from spaghetti, my eyes, meatballs....yikes, I'm pretty scary....and yummy, hehehehehe.
    Oh, and I just got over a nasty cold. Yeah, thanks whoever gave it to me....

  4. Wanda, you're right. I'd forgotten about this quote I found that someone cleverly put the NaNo logo with. It said, "You're gonna be confronted with the instinct to drink a lot. Trust that instinct. Manage the pain. Don't try to be a hero."

  5. Brenda, the world would be a dangerous place if all of us were made of food. I'd go around plucking steaks off of cows and breasts off of chickens. They'd send us to jail for biting each other.

  6. Great post, Allie.

    I especially agree with your political views on social sites. Argh. I want to tear out my hair when ppl ram their views down my throat, whether I agree or not.

  7. Great advice--and told with wonderful humor. BTW--if Brenda IS what she eats--don't ever let me sit next to her, I might turn cannibal. :-)


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