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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Healthy Body Makes For A Better Author

I know it seems like an odd title for a blog post, but what the heck? I like to push envelopes.

By the way, how healthy is your body? Yes, right now. Oh, and by the way, how is your writing coming along? Of course the two things aren’t related, are they? Because if they were then successful books would only be written by fit and healthy individuals. And nowadays anyone can write a book. Even people wracked with guilt, stress, disease, and anything else. But can they? Can you write a masterpiece if you are not fit and healthy?

Recently I’ve been asking myself this question. First of all I thought back to those movies where the struggling artist perseveres. Then I thought about those authors, like J.K. Rowling, who rose from difficult times to success. And finally I thought about writers of old like Shakespeare and Mark Twain. They both had pretty tough lives.

But you know what, there’s a difference here. These people may have had tough lives but they weren’t suffering in body. They were fairly healthy people (at least for most of their writing lives).

Earlier this year I decided I wanted to do something about my body and rethink what I put into it. I wanted to become a healthier individual. I wasn’t really ill or anything and I was only a little overweight, but I hated all those little things. I hated that I snored. I hated that I had to take pills for high blood pressure. You know the sort of thing - those little things we begin to take for granted as part of everyday living? So I researched body health, watched several documentaries, read lots of papers and I decided I would give up meat and try and eat a plant-based diet, with as much of it raw if possible. I started with a seven day juice detox and went from there. That was nearly two months ago now.

What did I learn? I learned that my body had a lot of crap inside it. I learned that I could easily lose a few pounds. I learned that I could stop my snoring and lower my blood pressure. And most importantly I found that I could write with clarity and with an approach that I had never experienced before. Suddenly my writing was as alive as I felt inside. It was like years of cobwebs had been brushed away.

Of course the proof of the writing is in the audience reaction, but so far it’s been good. Very good! So, you know what? I’m going to keep my healthier body. I like being a better author. It feels good. Writer’s block is a thing of the past and ideas flood my mind on a daily basis. The words just flow.

So, I thought I’d end this piece on a little practical example. I usually write at between 1,200 and 1,500 words an hour when I’m in full swing, but recently I’ve been writing at about 1,800 words an hour. That’s 30 words a minute. I didn’t know I could even type that fast while thinking! And put another way, that’s an increase in productivity of between 20% and 50%. Not too shabby a reward for looking after myself.

Does a healthy body make a better author? I challenge you to find out!


  1. I hope you're not right Paul, I'm a wreck, but I still think I write good books. When everybody else goes skiing or golfing I have to sit at home and concentrate on my writing, because I don't possess that sort of health to ski and golf with them. On the other hand, I would never have written so many books if I had been able to go with the hardy ones. I understand your point, but in the end I think the important thing is what's in your brain.

  2. It sure does!! I have been on this track for quite some time and have my own post up with some pointers to keep moving when writing or working from home...

    Well done you! The only way to get it into our heads that a healthy body is more creative is to prove it to ourselves...

    If you would like to read about my day, homeschooling kids while writing and staying healthy - check out my blog.


  3. Absolutely. If the blood isn't flowing through your head, you can't expect the words to flow at the keyboard either. A sluggish body produces only sluggish thoughts, and a sick body produces jumbled, illogical trash. As far as the rest of it though - who wants to not be healthy no matter what they do?

  4. I completely agree, Paul! I went through various detox programmes last year and now follow an essentially vegetarian diet; I've never felt better and I've lost a few stubborn pounds that refused to shift.
    And I'm more creative and energetic than ever!