I am serious about this sh*t: the Rotund Writer Challenge

Couple of years ago I decided that I’ll give this ‘writing thing’ a serious go. Until then I wrote because I had to and disregarded – or brushed off – people who said that I am a ‘good writer’. Writer? Me? After all writers are people like Fitzgerald, Hemingway ¬†and Marquez. Still, I thought it may be worth a try; otherwise I’ll go through my life never finding out what I am capable of; or not as the case may be.

So, I decided to give it a go.

  • At the start, I was a fit marathon runner who ate well, ran far and wrote from time to time and only when really necessary.
  • Now, two years later, I write a lot, run from time to time and eat all sorts of stuff I shouldn’t be eating; and a lot of it.

What is the problem? The problem is that both profiles are wrong for a writer. Let me explain this one a bit more.

On my other blog, The Money Principle, I’ve written about the importance of balance; but balance is not only important for our finances, balance is the very foundation of happy and fulfilled life. Our quality of life and our health is a (complex) function of the balance(s) between nutrition and activity; work and play; activity and rest; fun and responsibility; happiness and sadness.

All these play for the quality of life of a writer; but the main three points of the balance are, I believe, writing, activity (in my case, long distance running) and eating (nutrition). Accounting for those we can think of three ‘writer life-style’ profiles:

Profile One: Dormant Writer

Dormant Writer

This profile pretty much matches me three years ago. My writing was constant but not inspired and certainly not developing; I did run regularly and I did eat healthily and didn’t over-do it. Please note that the ‘eating’ line is brown – this stands for my big, gigantic liking for chocolate.

Profile Two: Rotund Writer

Rotund Writer

This is the profile of where I am now. My writing is really going up (certainly as productivity and I hope as quality as well); but I have become really sedentary compared to what I used to do (and even compared to any medical guidance regarding levels of activity) and my eating…well, just let’s say that my love of chocolate is no longer the moderate affection of a long-term happy relationship. At the moment I crave chocolate with the greediness of a one night stand.

Any writers out there finding this familiar? Apart from the chocolate this is (you can substitute the chocolate for any of the following: toast, beer, wine, crisps/chips).

Profile Three: Healthy and Happy Writer

Healthy writer

This is a profile of balance that I want to achieve. On this profile all lines move in the right direction.

What does this mean in practice?

The Rotund Writer Challenge

One characteristic of a happy writer is that both writing and moving are part of their life; another one is that both writing and moving are made easier by healthy eating habits.

Hence, this challenge consists of three elements:

  • I pledge to write 2,000 words per day (Monday to Friday) or 10,000 words per week. This will include writing for my blogs, guest writing, pitching and writing articles, academic writing and, eventually, book writing. This will be reported in number of words written.
  • I pledge to run for an hour every day (Monday to Friday). Because ultimately I will be running the Comrades in two years time, the focus is on running every day and keeping my heart rate low. Regardless this will be reported in miles run.
  • I pledge to stop eating sugar and foods that process as sugar. To be able to do the ultra-marathon running I aim to do, I will need to train my body to burn fat rather than sugar. One part of this is to stop eating sugar or anything that processes as sugar, e.g. most carbs. This will be reported in days without sugar.

I am starting the challenge tomorrow (Monday, 23 September 2013). During the next week, we’ll install counters on the Rotund Writer where all could follow my progress.

I can really do with some company! You don’t need to do all three parts of the challenge and you don’t have to run – any activity will do.

Who wants to join me? Sign the pledge by leaving your name and goals in the comments below.

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