Featured Writer on Wellness: April Moore

Filed in Writers on Wellness by on June 11, 2015 • views: 2144

kayaking 2If only writing burned calories.

It sure would be nice to look in the mirror and say, “Wow, look at these abs . . . those daily writing sessions are really paying off!”

*Sigh*

Like a lot of writers and artists, my biggest physical problem is sitting on my butt all day. Even though I don’t have much of a sweet tooth (I’m more of a salt-girl), and I follow a healthy plant-based diet, it’s not enough; I need exercise.

Before my son started driving himself to school, we kept a routine of going to the gym before school so that he could use the climbing wall and I could get a good hour of cardio in. Now that he drives himself each morning, neither of us have the accountability, or motivation from one another.

This summer, all of us—including my husband—promised to get back into it. I find that when I work out in the morning, I tend make better eating choices throughout the day, because thanks to the endorphins, I feel pretty good.

My other problem is I spend too much time on the computer NOT writing. My new goal is to replace all of the mindless internet surfing with yoga or meditation so that I can approach my writing with a clearer, more creative mind.

April hiking with her husband and son.

April hiking on the Overlook Trail in Lory State Park (in the foothills of Fort Collins, CO), with her husband, Curtis, and son, Connor.

The changes are works in progress. I schedule gym time for every morning—just like I would any other appointment. As a family, we also try to vacation often, particularly to places where we can walk everywhere.

When we come home, instead of feeling guilty about not using the hotel’s gym, or indulging at mealtime, it’s easier to resume our routine and not worry about gaining “vacation pounds.” When home, we go hiking and kayaking. Both are great ways to unwind and even brainstorm story ideas.

Don’t Ask “Why” You Have Writer’s Block—Focus on Ways to Get Around It

Writer’s block can be emotionally draining because it’s incredibly frustrating. Sometimes, I spend too much time trying to figure why I have writer’s block instead and of focusing on ways to get out around it. I let it get to me and end up making it worse by dwelling on it.

Rejections can also be tough to handle and because I send out both artwork and writing, I get rejections from both industries!

I used to let rejections get to me, but now I turn them into writing activities. It can be empowering to write about the rejection—my emotions, thoughts, and what I can learn from it all come flowing out on paper.

Sometimes it turns into a story, but oftentimes it’s just cathartic. It’s my way of saying to the agent, “Well, I’ll show you what I think of your rejection.”

April's work area—with lots of natural light! :O)

April’s work area—with lots of natural light! :O)

Create a Writing-Conducive Area

I also find that I can’t write in chaos, so I create a writing-conducive area: uncluttered room with my favorite art pieces, plants, and soothing colors. I’ve recently learned about diffusing pure essential oils that can not only make a room smell inviting, but that actually have creativity-building/brain-boosting/uplifting qualities. (I need all the help I can get!)

Bottom line, I need to enjoy being in my writing space. Otherwise, I won’t want to be in there to write. When I need inspiration, I’ll go for a walk, hop on a wilderness trail, or drag the kayak to the lake; being in nature has a way of calming the chaos.

NYC walking tour 2

April on a New York walking tour.

The Darkest Moment: Creativity Blocks

I can’t think of a specific dark moment, but rather, several mini-dark moments, such as when I’ve submitted a short story or flash fiction piece that I was really proud of, only to have it rejected.

Or submitting artwork to companies and weeks, or months later, receive the SASE filled with my submission. That really stinks.

Mostly though, my dark moments come from creativity blocks.

The One Thing That Has Kept You On Your Path

I know this is what I’m supposed to do. I enjoy telling stories, drawing pictures, and being creative. Give me craft supplies and I’m in heaven. Give me a pencil and a crisp, clean pad of lined paper and I’m yours.

I may have days when I question if I should be doing this, but it doesn’t take much to call me back: looking at some amazing art, falling in love with a wonderful novel, or watching a great movie. I always come back.

Advice to a Young Writer: Decide if You Want to Make a Living At It

My advice would be to decide if you want to make a living at it, or treat it as a side gig. Do some research on the various fields in the art/writing world and what will best align with your ultimate goal. Don’t go into it with expectation and ideally, have a backup plan.

I know that may sound cynical, but should you need to support yourself, writing or art (and your passion for it) may not get you what you need financially.

My advice is to find a career that fulfills you creatively, yet allows you to pay the bills. I’m speaking from experience; I was an art major with a minor in art history. (Don’t do that unless you have a healthy trust fund or a winning lottery ticket in your pocket.)

Above all, do your homework, sharpen your skills, and learn from others.

* * *

April Moore is a writer and illustrator from Fort Collins, Colorado. Her first book, Folsom’s 93: The Lives and Crimes of Folsom Prison’s Executed Men, was released in July 2013, and her second release, Bobbing for Watermelons, a women’s fiction, came out this last March. She is currently co-writing and illustrating a children’s book due out later this fall.

For more information on April and her work, please see her website, or follow her on Twitter or Goodreads.


Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000031_00006]Bobbing for Watermelons: In the small town of Brookwood, Iowa, forty-one-year-old food columnist Helen Munson, unappreciated by her two teenagers and her lazy husband, longs for more out of life, but hasn’t a clue how to make that happen. She impulsively starts writing a spy novel whose main character exudes traits Helen tries to embody in her own life: power, assertiveness, and the ability to kick butt.

However, this persona doesn’t quite manage to keep her out of trouble, or jail. With help from a cast of quirky characters, such as her hippie best friend, a free-spirited drifter, and a pair of fashionable gay store owners, Helen just might be able to pull of the transformation of a lifetime.

Available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo.

Folsom's 93 2Folsom’s 93: From 1895 to 1937, 93 men were hanged at California’s Folsom State Prison, and this book is the first to tell all of their stories—their origins, their crimes, the investigations that brought them to justice, their trials, and their deaths at the gallows.

This wealth of previously unpublished historical detail gives a vivid view of the sociology of early 20th-century crime and of the resulting prison life.

Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

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Comments (4)

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  1. If only I could write while cycling, in my kayak, while hiking—all of the places I’m likely to have the words come uninvited! Lately I’ve taken to using my iPhone mike to get my thoughts recorded when I’m not in my writing space, which I dearly love as well as you. My newest adaptation to stay off my butt so much of the writing day is to add a standup spot for my laptop, so I can sit at my iMac and stand every so often at my MacBook Air. Nice post.

    • April Moore says:

      Thanks, Jann! And isn’t that the truth? the words come when we’re NOT at our desks! It isn’t as easy with kayaking, but at least when I go hiking, I can pack my little notebook and a pen. The idea of a standing desk work station appeals to me more and more.

  2. Chere Hagopian says:

    Thanks for the inspiration! I’m so with you on wishing that writing would burn some calories. But I’ll have to give your active vacation idea a try instead. My preference is to lay on a beach and do nothing for two weeks, but that burns even less calories than writing.

    • April Moore says:

      One of these days we’d like to do the beach thing. Our son got scuba diving certified and spent a week in FL, so he’s itching hit up an ocean again. There’s so many great walkable cities though and then we don’t feel so guilty when we indulge on food and wine!