Get up, go to fridge, open fridge, stare inside, close fridge. Sit down. Write another sentence.
Get up, go to cupboard, take out box of crackers, eat crackers, sit back down.
Delete last sentence. Stare at screen. Repeat process.
Consuming something while writing helps you think, right?
I Can’t Be Creative If I Feel Like It’s Turning Me Into Lard
Snacking routine aside, I take health and fitness seriously. I can’t write and be creative if I feel like it’s turning me into lard. Plus, a rigorous workout feels as refreshing mentally as it does physically.
Thirty minutes of exercise a day is all you need, so there’s no excuse. I alternate my days with high intensity interval training (kickboxing circuit) and 5k runs.
I also ride my horse almost every day, which counts as exercise and keeps me mentally healthy because it’s my favourite thing in life.
As for diet, I eat as nutritiously I can to feed my brain and keep me energized. Smoothies, salads, homemade granola bars, roasted vegetables, fruit, eggs, nuts and seeds, free-range meat, and a regular dose of chocolate to keep the Dementors at bay.
It’s Tough to Balance All My Priorities
Balancing all my priorities is tough.
Although I manage to fit writing in every day, I constantly feel like I could be doing more. I have to tell myself that if I’ve written for an hour or two, that’s enough.
My day: Wake up, write, go to work, exercise, ride my horse, meal prep for the next day. Socializing happens on weekends or in place of riding.
These are my priorities, and I stick to them. I don’t think I would be able to finish novels if I didn’t live this way.
To Be a Writer: Force the Writing Time In
If you want to be a writer, you have to force the writing time in. For me, my social life takes a back seat. (I think this is why introverts are more likely to be writers than extroverts.)
If I spend time with others only on weekends, I’m perfectly content. This lets me prioritize writing without feeling like I’m sacrificing something.
That said, another challenge of being a writer is isolation. I do like my alone time, and I would rather be at home with my story on a Friday night than at a bar, but too many writing days in a row means I teeter on the verge of becoming the protagonist in a Stephen King novel.
If I start having conversations with my characters, I know it’s time to go talk to some real friends.
Horses are therapeutic for me. I’m relaxed the moment I step into the barn. Sometimes while I brush my horse I even practice mindfulness meditation. (Because I want to meditate for 20 mins a day but don’t have time. Multitasking!)
I can’t say enough positive things about having an animal companion.
Ignoring Negative Feedback Takes Practice
I haven’t had a particularly dark moment in my writing career, but I have cried after getting harsh feedback from editors or reviewers.
Ignoring negative feedback takes practice, and I’m getting better at it. I remind myself that for every negative review, I get a whole ton of good ones, and those are the ones that matter.
Those are the people I write for.
Writing for Enjoyment is the Best Inspiration
I’m a creator. I write because I can’t not write. Even if I tell myself I’m going to take a break, I find myself writing again within a few days.
I’m obsessive and goal driven, which is both a trap and a driving force. When I feel pressure to write and publish, write and publish, write and publish, I step back and remember why I write.
I write because I love to, not because I have to. Writing for the enjoyment of it is the best inspiration of all.
Advice for a Young Writer: Write Down Your Goals
Writing a novel means more than just finishing a book. It also means publishing, marketing, and building your author platform. Each of those steps is a lot of work, but you can do it!
Write down your goal. I believe in the law of attraction because it’s worked for me. When I started writing Ice Massacre, I wrote my goal on an index card: “I am so happy and grateful now that I am a best selling author.”
I put this over my alarm clock. When I rolled over and saw that at 6:00 a.m., it got me out of bed, because I knew that dream would never come true if I fell back asleep.
Looking at your goal every day will keep you on track and remind you what you’re working towards. And it works.
* * *
Tiana Warner is an award-winning author from British Columbia, Canada. She blogs for a computer software company by day and writes fantasy novels by night. The second book in her mermaid series, Ice Crypt, will be published this summer, following the international success of Ice Massacre. Tiana enjoys riding her horse, Bailey, and is an active supporter of animal welfare.
Ice Massacre is a #1 Amazon Kindle Best Seller, First Place Winner: Dante Rossetti Awards 2014 for Young Adult Novels, and Foreword Reviews’ 2014 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards Finalist. Find out more about Tiana and her work at her website, or connect with her on Twitter and Goodreads.
The Massacre is supposed to bring peace to Eriana Kwai. Every year, the island sends its warriors to battle these hostile sea demons. Every year, the warriors fail to return. Desperate for survival, the island must decide on a new strategy. Now, the fate of Eriana Kwai lies in the hands of twenty battle-trained girls and their resistance to a mermaid’s allure.
Eighteen-year-old Meela has already lost her brother to the Massacre, and she has lived with a secret that’s haunted her since childhood. For any hope of survival, she must overcome the demons of her past and become a ruthless mermaid killer.
For the first time, Eriana Kwai’s Massacre warriors are female, and Meela must fight for her people’s freedom on the Pacific Ocean’s deadliest battleground. Available at Amazon.
Ice Crypt: Meela has just returned from the Massacre—the annual attempt to wipe out the mermaids threatening her people’s survival. After forming an unlikely connection with Lysi, a mermaid she was trained to kill, Meela is determined to stop the war between humans and merpeople for good. She knows of a legendary weapon that could bring peace if she uses it against King Adaro, ruler of the Pacific Ocean. But her people have plans for future Massacres and refuse to help her uncover it.
While Meela works in secret to unearth the Host of Eriana, Lysi is held captive under Adaro’s tyranny. Sent to the battlefront, Lysi joins forces with a band of rebels that could either bring her freedom—or have her executed for treason.
Separated by the vast Pacific Ocean, Meela and Lysi must find a way to defeat King Adaro and end the war that has been keeping them apart. Available at Amazon. For more details, please see Tiana’s website.