(COPIED FROM morning pages, 7.23.18)

Control over my own body.

I think it’s more common to underestimate the influence physical well-being has on our creative state. It’s so obvious, but so misrepresented.

As a writer (or any other creative type) our expectations of ourselves is: WRITE. Plant your tuchas in a chair and write till your fingers bleed and the stars burn out. For some, that’s obvious and, for some lucky few, a necessity.

I envy those people.

Let me tell you a story.

Yesterday, Sunday the 21st, was spent primarily doing freelance work. Websites I write for send out assignments a day before they are due. 24 hour turnaround. Standard in most content writing sites. Gotta stay on top of the story, after all.

So, because freelance work is paid, that takes priority over personal work. It’s not ideal, but that’s what has to happen. Whatever pays you takes priority. If I can pass along one concrete lesson I’ve learned from this lifestyle it’s that.

Two articles in, I started feeling the burn out. You know, that sense you’ve creatively spent fuel you weren’t planning on spending? There was one more article left and I still had scheduled 8 pages for my novel, Project: HARP, to get to. How to keep myself going?

A reward!

Yes, the old trick of leading yourself with a carrot on a stick. Just make it through these next few pages and you can have a treat, I thought. A distraction, to keep your eyes on the prize.

For me, it’s shaved ice from a local spot, Snoh. Taro flavored with red beans and lychee jelly and black sesame dressing on top. If you even think of arguing with me about this being the best treat ever I will scream in your face.

Power through, I though. Get this last article out of the way, reward yourself, then come home and get to work on Project: HARP.

Except, after I got the treat there was a problem.

I overdid it. Too much shaved ice. Instead of a regular size I thought, Pssshhhh, you’ve done a great job today, you deserve a LARGE today. So that’s what I did. After consuming in all in one sitting an absurd amount of sugar entered my blood stream. My body needed a nap. And not a nice nap, but one of those angry naps where you wake up even more exhausted than you began.

I can’t help but be acutely aware of my body as I write. If I’m even a bit tired, it pours out like oil over a canvas and slows my strokes. Each breath I do or don’t take, since I forget to breath regularly while writing sometimes. Every fold in my hunched over back and stomach reminds me that I could have done a thousand more crunches in the gym yesterday so why am I sitting here? The internal temperature of my body, hot, cold, hot, hot, hot, rising and falling, tells me I should have more water. The lump in my stomach screaming I clearly did not chew enough times so now I have to deal with working past the breakfast boulder.

All at once.

All at the same time.

Your body is a temple, is what people who like to quote others they don’t know, say. My body is a temple but I overestimate what the temple holds.  I think, “It can handle this,” when clearly the next day I find that it cannot. To be a writer, you need a strong and open mind.

But, as far as bodies go?

Don’t neglect that.

A few rules for myself:

Drink a 16oz glass of water in the morning before you shower.

Chew your food at least 30 times every fork/spoonful.

Exercise and work out at least 3 times a week. Don’t miss days.

No snack gorging. Seriously, Rob. You’re a lazy desk boy now who wants to spend the rest of his life typing out stories and you need time to digest.

Take care of your body.

Thanks for the read!

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Contact: robertmichaelacosta@gmail.com