Writing the Healthy Way

Let’s face it. Sometimes, it takes a wake-up call to help us see what’s right in front of our faces. And for “why” people (waving hand), it takes understanding why something is necessary.

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My wake-up call came in 2010 when I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease, Sicca, also known as Sjogren syndrome, arthritis, and bi-lateral frozen shoulders. For one who didn’t like taking breaks, drinking water, or eating balanced meals, my life was about to change.

Although the diagnoses explained all my symptoms, it didn’t give me the answers on how to change my lifestyle. The whys came by years of research. Hello, Google.

Relaxation

Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease that messes with your cognitive abilities, among other things. If I get overly tired, I struggle to make decisions and suffer memory lapses. On those occasions, I take time away from everything, returning when I’ve rested.

Unfortunately, I can’t always control my schedule. Life has a way of interrupting our normal. What I can control is my nutritional intake. I do this by feeding my brain the necessary nutrients.

Nutrition

The way we eat affects our brains and our moods. Too much sugar weakens brain function and may worsen mood. Foods to avoid are refined carbohydrates, food high in trans-fat, highly processed foods, Aspartame, alcohol, and high mercury fish.

You may be asking, well, Gail, what do you eat?!

The omega 3 in fish is great for the noggin! Dark green vegetables improve memory too, along with berries and walnuts. By eating more vegetables and fruits, I have energy without the pain, and I think clearer.

 

Hydration

A good word for Sjogren is dry. You can’t swallow food or breathe when your nasal passages and throat feel like a desert, so I’ve learned to drink the required amount of water each day (that reminds me, I’ll be right back).

Hydration has become a way of life. A water bottle is always with me. Coffee is limited to one cup. Sweet tea with lemon and Dr. Pepper are treats for rare occasion. Hey, I get tired of water, but it’s a necessary element for good health. 😊

Want to think clearer? Drink water. Your brain is made up of 73% water. How about breathing better? Your lungs are 83% water. Want supple skin. Your skin is 64% water. Lastly, your bones are 31% water. (I’ll wait while you get that water bottle.)

Action

As writers, it’s necessary to sit and type for hours. But this disease has made it necessary for me to move. Experts advise moving every hour to counteract the dangers of sitting. Some suggest every thirty minutes.

I often do household chores or fold clothes while writing, carrying paper and pen with me. I exercise by walking outside, on a treadmill, or riding a stationary bike. The idea is to get my heart rate up and keep it up for 30 minutes to build stamina, reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and lubricate joints. My favorite thing is cleaning yards, especially raking and hauling leaves to the burn pile. Pulling a tarp or pushing a wheelbarrow always does the trick. 😉

Do I ever fall off the wagon? Honey, I’ve jumped and rolled down the incline. However, I’m learning everything that tastes good, is not good for me. If I want a body that will take care of me, then I must feed it the right nutrients, get the needed rest, drink plenty of water, keep moving, and write the healthy way!

 

Learn More:
The 7 Worst Foods for Your Brain
How Many Hours of Sleep Do You Really Need?
4 Types of Food to Help Boost Your Memory
Your Brain On Food
2 Minute Walk Every Hour May Help Offset Effects of Sitting

Click to Tweet: “Do I ever fall off the wagon? Honey, I’ve jumped and rolled down the incline. However, I’m learning everything that tastes good, is not good for you.” ~ @GailJohnson87 via  @Inspired Prompt  #writing #health

Writing Prompt

Ding. 
Jane’s hands paused over the keyboard. She couldn’t stop, now! She glared at the kitchen timer.
To lower your blood pressure and reduce stress, you must start moving, Miss Reynolds.
In the scene, tell if Jane obeys or ignores her doctor’s instructions, giving reasons for her decision.

3 Questions Wednesday with Janalyn Voigt

Janalyn Voigt fell in love with literature at an early age when her father read classics to her as bedtime stories. Let’s get to know her. Our first question for Janalyn is what do you love most about the writing process? The least?

Janalyn: Writing allows me to live vicariously in a fictional world I create. That’s amazing for any genre but especially when writing medieval epic fantasy. It’s heady to realize that you can write about anything you can dream up. In Tales of Faeraven, readers can experience what it’s like to climb onto a winged horse and lift into the sky. They can walk through a vanishing gateway into a place between worlds, seek salvation in the Vale of Shadows, wield a two-edged sword, and reach into another soul.

I’ll call upon the late Walt Disney to answer the second part of your question. The famed founder of Disneyland once confessed that he resented the limits of his imagination. I share his frustration. The options for what I can create within a fantasy story world are endless, but my mind is finite. There’s almost too much freedom, and it’s easy to become intimidated.

I counter that feeling by establishing parameters for my world. I follow the advice of Orson Scott Card, bestselling author of Ender’s Game (and many other books), who explained in an article that the best fantasy worlds are most like our own. If a book has ever jarred you with its unfamiliarity, you already understand why. Readers relate to a world containing cool elements not found on Earth, but without being distracted by unnecessary strangeness. Adopting this philosophy helped establish parameters. I researched 13th-century Europe when writing Tales of Faeraven.

Wow, you have thought this through thoroughly! Next question, if you could give a novice writer one piece of advice, what would it be?

Janalyn: This might seem hackneyed, but it’s the truest advice I can give: believe in yourself as a writer. If you don’t, no one else will. That’s so hard in the beginning when no one acknowledges you. I can remember being embarrassed to call myself a writer. I still don’t announce it except for a specific reason, but shyness no longer holds me back. I just prefer not to be stared at as if I’ve sprouted a second head or gazed at with awe. Unless the other person is another author or aspires to be one, others can’t relate anyway. But I digress.

While researching a post for Live Write Breathe, my website for writers, I discovered that I suffered from the very affliction about which I was writing. Impostor Syndrome is when you sabotage your efforts due to the misguided belief that you don’t deserve success. I felt like I was fooling everyone by claiming to be a writer, even though I had several books published and contracts with two publishers. The good news is that simply identifying Impostor Syndrome is the first step to eliminating the problem. That is proving true more and more as I leave self-doubt behind.

I’ve had to apply this advice in my writing also. Trusting that the story will tell itself, even when I think I’ve painted myself into a corner has saved me many times. This mindset produces authentic stories that aren’t predictable, and what’s not to love about that?

You are right, we do second guess our own talent many times before moving forward boldly. Final question, who is your favorite fictional hero or heroine? Villain?

Janalyn: I love Samwise Gamgee in the Lord of the Rings books. His curiosity gets him into hot water with Gandolf and carries him into adventure. Ah, but loyalty makes him stay. I can relate to that, which is why Kai in Tales of Faeraven has an overweening sense of duty. In this, Kai is most like his author.

George Warleggon from the Poldark Saga is by far my favorite villain. His flaws make George a complex character I want to hate but just can’t. I’m in awe of that kind of writing. So far, I’ve only seen the Masterpiece Theater production, but I plan to read the Poldark books by Winston Graham. I’ve learned a lot about storytelling from reading classics that have stood the test of time.

Strong choices in characters. Thanks for chatting with us.


Click to Tweet: My favorite fictional character: I love Samwise Gamgee in the Lord of the Rings books. His curiosity gets him into hot water with Gandolf and carries him into adventure. Ah, but loyalty makes him stay.


Janalyn Voigt Bio

Janalyn Voigt fell in love with literature at an early age when her father read classics to her as bedtime stories. When Janalyn grew older, she put herself to sleep with her own made-up tales. Her sixth-grade teacher noticed her love of storytelling and encouraged her to become a writer. Today Janalyn is a multi-genre author. Janalyn writes the kind of novels she likes to read – epic adventures brimming with romance, mystery, history, and whimsy. She is praised for her unpredictable plots and the lyrical, descriptive prose that transports readers into breathtaking storyworlds. Janalyn Voigt is represented by Wordserve Literary. Learn more about Janalyn and her books at http://janalynvoigt.com.


Thanks so much, Janalyn, for dropping by!  If you would like to connect with Janalyn, here’s how:


 

3 Questions Wednesday with Leeann Betts

This week we hear from Leeann Betts, who writes contemporary romantic suspense. Pique your interest? Read on.

Leeann Betts writes contemporary romantic suspense, while her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, pens historical romantic suspense. Missing Deposits is the 11th title in her cozy mystery series, and together she and Donna have published more than 30 novellas and full-length novels. They ghostwrite, judge writing contests, edit, facilitate a critique group, and are members of American Christian Fiction Writers, Writers on the Rock, Christian Authors Network, and Sisters in Crime. Leeann travels extensively to research her stories, and is proud to be represented by Terrie Wolf of AKA Literary LLC.


Our first question for Leeann, if you could give a novice writer one piece of advice, what would it be?

Leeann: I think it would be the same piece my husband gave to me, although it wasn’t advice so much as it was a question: “If you knew right now that you’d never be published, would you quit?” My answer was “no”. And he said, “Then it doesn’t matter how many rejections you get.” I think if my answer had been, “yes”, he’d have said to me, “Then you’d better move on now and do something else.”

Staying power! Authors have to be ready for the rejections and the acceptances. Next Leeann described her writing space.  

Leeann: I write at a desk in my home office in my basement. My husband sits about five feet away. Every day. My space is uncluttered, most of the time, because I can’t stand piles of stuff. His space looks like Mount Kilimanjaro about to collapse under its own weight, because he likes to have everything close to hand. But once a week, I have an appointment at a local coffee shop to write with friends. Or by myself. Doesn’t matter. I just need to get out and be around people once in a while. Not to actually interact with them—the introvert in me shrinks at the thought—but just to be able to pretend I’m a little normal.

A little time out and about with others sometimes spurs writing ideas. Last question, were you a young writer, late-bloomer, or somewhere in-between?

Leeann: I was a late bloomer. In most things. I graduated college at 36, got married at 40, wrote my first novel at 44, published my first book at 57. Now, at 61, I’m just hitting my stride.

Click to Tweet: Advice I would give a novice writer would be the same piece my husband gave to me, although it wasn’t advice so much as it was a question: “If you knew right now that you’d never be published, would you quit?” My answer was “no”. And he said, “Then it doesn’t matter how many rejections you get.”

Thanks so much, Leeann, for dropping by!  If you would like to connect with Leeann, here’s how:


About her book Missing Deposits

Carly looks forward to a vacation when Mike is hired to assist a rancher family in western Colorado catalogue their various mineral rights following the discovery of a large copper field on their property. However, Carly soon learns that the real wealth—and the real danger—aren’t below ground. Someone is out to keep a secret bigger and more profitable than copper. And they’re willing to kill for it.

 

Walking Into 2020

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photo by Alexas Fotos on Pixabay

This year, 2020, I am challenging myself to walk for at least 20 minutes five times a week.

I came across this idea through a podcast I listen to called Happier with Gretchen Rubin. This podcast contains life hacks, practical ways to manage time, and ideas for living a happier life.

Now, I am not new to walking. In fact, years ago, too many to claim, my doctor told me that I had high cholesterol and I needed to start exercising. He suggested walking. At the time, I had small children, so taking the kids for a walk a few times a week was easy to add to my routine, and they loved the adventure.

Then while the kids were growing up and going through those wild but wonderful teenage years, my reasons for walking changed. My motto became “not for vanity, but for sanity.” My few minutes walking through the neighborhood or meeting up with a friend at the walking track gave me perspective and made me recognize that my need for exercise went beyond the physical to the mental.

Now as a writer, my need to move has increased tenfold. My sedentary job pushes me to keep up my walking in order to maintain good health, but I have also discovered when I exercise my creative juices flow more readily, giving me inspiration and new ideas. Once again, my reasons have gone beyond that of the physical and mental to include the creative.

So, when I heard this podcast, I decided to pick up the gauntlet and accept the Walk 20 in 2020 challenge. I would increase the number of days I walk from three to five and see how the Lord uses this investment of time in my life.

If you have been feeling the nudge to get more active, I would challenge you to join me in my quest for twenty minutes of walking five days a week, and to entice you, I want to leave you with five great reasons to be a walker:

  1. Walking clears your mind and ups your creativity by 60 percent according to a Stanford University study.
  2. It gives you time to pray and think.
  3. It reduces your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and stroke.
  4. It strengthens your bones and muscles.
  5. It improves your mood and leaves you feeling happier.

With all these benefits, you might want to give walking a try and walk into the New Year knowing you’re doing something worthwhile for your mind, body, and spirit.

“But they that wait for Jehovah shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings of eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (ASV).

Prompt: The bells chimed midnight. Carol couldn’t wait to begin her new project. She loved the clean slate of a whole new year in front of her.

Click-to-Tweet: Five great reasons to be a walker – Bonita McCoy in Walking into 2020 via @InspiredPrompt

3 Questions Wednesday with Martin Wiles

Martin Wiles joins us this week. Before we get to know him, how’s it going with you and your goals for the new year? Stay after it, hard-work, focus and discipline will help you accomplish many things this year. Now, let’s get to know Martin and how he has worked to achieve in his writing.

Martin Wiles lives in South Carolina and is the founder of Love Lines from God. He is a freelance editor, English teacher, minister, and author who serves as Managing Editor for Christian Devotions and as a proof-editor for Courier Publishing. He is the author of six books and has been published in numerous publications. His most recent book, A Whisper in the Woods: Quiet Escapades in a Busy World, released in December 2019.

Let’s get to know a little more about Martin. For starters, what do you love most about the writing process? The least?

Martin: The least is easy: marketing. I would imagine this is every writer’s least favorite thing to do. We’d rather sit down and pen the words than have to promote what we have written or had published. Unfortunately, marketing is a vital part of the writing process, so I suck it up, make a regular schedule, decide where and how I will promote my writing, and get busy. Consistency is the key. After all, I’m the only person—unless I pay someone—that I can count on to do this with regularity. And like most writers, I have limited funds. So, I rarely pay anyone to promote my writing, and I take advantage of every free resource I know about.

My favorite thing is the freedom to put my thoughts on paper when and where I want, and to know they have the potential to be read the world over, hopefully changing lives in the process. Each day, I check my Blogger statistics to see how many people have visited my website and read my post and to see which countries they reside in. I am very humbled when I see how God uses me and how He uses other writers in ways we could never imagine. Technology has opened numerous doors for writers.

You are not alone with marketing challenges. The industry is changing and whether or not you self-publish, the author has a big role in marketing. Next question, describe your writing space.

Martin:  My writing space began as a secluded spot in my quiet office. Currently, it is nestled in a part of our small patio townhome between the den and the dining room. Since my children are grown and gone—and since the grandsons my wife keeps leave after supper—I have plenty of quiet time if I need it. My main time for writing, however, begins at 4:30 a.m. I’ve always been a morning person—my brain shuts down around 8:30 p.m.—so my inspiration comes before the sun rises. My desk is the bottom iron table on which once sat a sewing machine that belonged to my great-grandmother. The top is a thick piece of plywood that either my father or my grandfather mounted on it. It’s a small space, but with most everything I need stored on my laptop, I don’t require much space.


Click to Tweet: Marketing is a vital part of the writing process, so I suck it up, make a regular schedule, decide where and how I will promote my writing, and get busy. Consistency is the key.


It sounds like your desk alone carries a few stories. Were you a young-writer, late-bloomer, or somewhere in-between?

Martin: As a serious writer, I was a late bloomer. I suppose I wrote in school as every other child is required to do—and I wrote many papers in college—but writing in the genre I do now came much later. My writing in earnest started shortly after my dad died in 2009. What the connection was between his death and my writing, I’ve never been able to determine. I just know it began then. Dad was not a writer, except for his sermons, so I wasn’t following his example. I had written many sermons myself, but in 2009, I began writing devotions. Since then, I’ve branched out to nonfiction articles and two nonfiction books, but devotions are my mainstay.

Get to know more about Martin Wiles. Here’s how to best connect:


Just Released: A Whisper in the Woods: Quiet Escapades in a Noisy World

Martin’s latest book A Whisper in the Woods: Quiet Escapades in a Noisy World, combines his love for the outdoors and his passion for devotions. Since the “silence” of nature seems to be the place where God speaks the loudest to many people, he decided to filter through the many devotions he’s written and selected those that dealt with his hiking, backpacking, and camping experiences—especially those that had spiritual implications.

Available on Amazon, for purchase and download.