Taking Care Of You: Sleep.
My sincere thanks to Dee Carver for inviting me to share on her website. Dee is special to me. She's not just someone I know online -- she's also a great friend. I trust her with the keys to my kingdom. She is my website designer and guru. Today happens to be her birthday. Dee, I hope your day is lovely all day long!
When Dee asked me to talk about self-care for authors, my mind immediately went to one particular topic. It's the one thing that has changed my life to give me not only better health but also to make me a more prolific (and much better) writer.
Yes, sleep. Mundane and humdrum but oh so necessary. I write about immortals who need two hours of sleep and can go a day or three without it when needed. Trust me. I am not immortal. Not even close.
My first published book came out in July of 2004 and the second in December. I was putting out a book about every six months. Then this thing happened to me that knocked me completely out of my ability to churn out new stories. What was it?
I actually bragged about how I got by on only four to five hours of sleep a night. It was a time waster, right? I felt fine! I would wake up excited to start my day. I had a full time job that I truly loved and for the Atlanta area, an easy commute. But by the time I got home, fixed dinner, got other work around the house down and sat down at the computer -- I was done. I worked, yes. I put in the time banging on the keyboard, but my ideas weren't gelling.
I used caffeine. I tried adding exercise. Because, yeah, when you're tired, working out is such a great idea. Not. I did this for more than ten years. No real sleep and working myself to the bone trying to get ahead.
When stomach pain sent me to the doctor, I discovered I had an ulcer. My job had changed and it was now high stress and I hated going in to work each day. I had no energy to write. What I was producing was just not that good. I couldn't seem to stay with a story long enough to finish it. I'd get 40,000 words in, but the plot wasn't working. The characters were wrong. In short, I was writing nothing publishable.
In June of 2018, my youngest son, Joel, gave me a Fitbit and I started tracking my sleep. The least amount of sleep it would set for as a minimum was a little over 5 hours. Most days, I didn't make that goal. I was hardwired to wake up.
But I discovered something quite by accident. There were a few days in a row where I slept 6 hours or so, and was also starting to produce good work. I could make decisions. I flew through cleaning the kitchen and fixing dinner. I folded laundry and actually put it away. You know what I'm talking about, don't you? I bet you do.
When you're tired, you get by on the minimum. Clothes get washed. They might even get folded. But they never / rarely make it out of the basket. I learned how to make fast food faster and we ate frozen meals because who has energy to cook?
Once I started seeing the correlation between longer sleep and energy to work and write, the lightbulbs started coming on.
Why hadn't I thought of this before? Why wasn't anyone talking about this?
Of course, they were, but as tired as I was, I wasn't paying attention. I decided to start trying to get more sleep.
After a year, I can say that I consistently get over six hours of sleep a night. I truly don't think I was ever big on sleeping, even as a kid. I'm pretty hardwired to work that way. I feel great and I'm able to do so much more. I've released new books. I'm writing one now that is a joy to create. The ideas flow. I'm a much better writer because I have energy to write but also energy to study my craft.
So, if there is one thing I can recommend to make you a better writer it's this: Sleep.
Don't fool around with your metabolism. Your body needs rest. Your creativity comes out of your brain -- which if you aren't allowing time to reset and rejuvenate -- is going to fail you.
Prioritize. Look at what's really important. Your health isn't something you can give up to get more done. Trust me on that. Eat healthy food. Get some exercise. And go to bed!
Bro, Antonello Brothers Prequel, by Kayelle Allen
The tech Senth is about to claim will make him invisible. Finally, the young halfbreed thief will be out of sight, shielded from the taunts humans fire at him. But when that tech reveals he has a human half-brother who's bound by a cruel slaver, Senth must find a way to save his brother from abuse and win his freedom -- even though Senth is a slave himself.
There's just one problem. The new Thieves' Guild tech might make him invisible, but it can't hide him from the truth...
About the Author
Kayelle Allen writes Sci Fi and Sci Fi Romance with misbehaving robots, mythic heroes, role playing immortal gamers, and warriors who purr. She's a US Navy veteran and has been married so long she's tenured.
Book blog https://rlfblog.com
Reader Groups https://kayelleallen.com/reader-groups/
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