Fifteen Minutes of Sunshine (by Nancy Ohlin)

Just recently, some authors I know shared what they’re like when they’re in writing mode.  There were several recurring themes:  “wearing the same clothes every day …” “not showering” … “forgetting to eat” … “living on M&M’s and cold coffee” … “letting my house go” … and so on. 

My first reaction was, “Yay, I’m not alone!”  My second reaction was, “Wow, I really need to stop doing that stuff.”

Because for the last couple of years, 90% of my life was about finishing my novel.  The other 10% was about my family, my health, my mental health, my home, and, well, basic grooming.

During those dark days, I knew what I should be doing.  Eating real meals.  Drinking more water.  Exercising.  Going for walks.  Washing a few dishes occasionally.  Washing my hair occasionally.

Yet each time one of these activities beckoned to me, my laptop would pull me back in, Godfather-style … and the next thing I knew, it would be 3:00 p.m. and I’d still be in my PJs, wondering if I should make some popcorn for lunch. 

Now that it’s spring, the season of new beginnings, and CONSENT is all done and set for release, I’m trying to change my ways.  So far, I’ve managed to do the following:

*I finally cashed in a spa gift certificate that I’ve had for ages and got a massage.  I thought of this as my post-novel “detox.”   It was very, very awesome.

*Each morning, I make a big pitcher of water with cucumber slices in it and sip at it all day.  This way I stay hydrated, plus the cucumber slices can double as a meal in a pinch.

*I bought a meditation app for my phone, and I may even use it. 

*I promised myself at least fifteen minutes of sunshine (or what passes for sunshine in Ithaca, NY) daily.

I know this all sounds pretty minor.   But for me, these baby steps are huge.  And hopefully, as I begin new writing projects, I will maintain these routines and add a few more.

What about you?  How do you take care of yourself when you're in writing mode?  


  1. I am right there with you, Nancy! I need to make a list like yours. I'm writing this as two big baskets of unfolded laundry sit behind me. Writing mode gets pretty ugly at times. It's all-consuming. Now that my book is out I'm considering taking the summer off to read, workout and recharge.

    1. A summer to recharge ... that sounds heavenly, Jen! I will try to follow your example. And if I fail, I will call you and join you at whatever beach you're on for tacos and margaritas. :)


Post a Comment