Tuesday Spotlight: Jennifer Shirk

Healthy Routines

Let’s face it. Writing is a sedentary job. And the less active you are…

well, the more likely you are to put on excess weight. It’s true! Don’t believe me? Go ahead at look yourself. You’ve probably been sitting on it all this time without even realizing.

That’s how it crept up on me.

A few months ago I noticed what I affectionately dubbed as “writer’s spread”. **shudder** Fortunately, I am not a writer to take this revelation, uh, sitting down, so to speak. So I immediately changed my daily routine to combat the spread and to get myself in better shape in general. If you’re not feeling physically well, chances are you’re not going to feel mentally as well, also. Here’s what I’m doing now:

* I made more time for the gym. Yep. In fact four times a week, I am there.

* I started running. Well, okay, more like light jogging. Regardless, I’m getting my heart rate up more and now I’m doing two miles three times a week.

* I’m drinking MUCH more water and less diet soda and coffee. Did you know that a mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory and difficulty focusing on the computer screen or on a printed page?

The point is I realized how important it is to pay myself first. No, I don’t pay myself monetarily. But I do pay myself by taking care of my body better and by leaving enough time in the morning (or afternoon) for prayer and reflection, too.

I knew I was on to something when I saw a TV show on cool places to work. Most of them had gyms for their employees. (And daycare and afternoon tea, but that’s beside the point) What I figured was that I have the ability to make the best possible work place for myself and my body. And I started doing it.

I feel a lot better, but I also noticed that my writing time has not suffered—especially since my energy level is much higher. So far it’s been a win win.

Do you have a healthy writing routine?


  1. You know that I’m very worried about this by reading my blog title Writer’s Butt Does Not Apply to Me. After I’d been writing for a a few months I noticed that my writing flowed better when I took a walk before I began writing. It has now become a routine. Almost everyday I take a brisk walk outside before sitting down to write. I enjoy my walking time now because it’s the only time I can focus on my story and ideas come. My favorite is when whole fictional conversations take place in my mind and when I return home I’m excited to write it all down. The walking helps with my story, but it’s also helping to lose weight.

  2. I am currently classifying myself as a “lazy butt” and need to get myself motivated. I need to develop a routine and stick with it. Self discipline…. YUK! :O)

  3. I’m a walker, and have been walking for years now. I work it into my schedule several times a week, even bumping the writing to do so. A very important post today, Jennifer. Our physical health is paramount, so much else does hinge on it.

  4. I am a runner and a boxer. When I am not engaged with exercise my life suffers and so does the writing. Great post. Thanks 🙂

  5. I was sipping some water as I read this, so YAY, at least I’ve got one of three down.

    Thank you so much for the advice.

  6. You are an inspiration to me! Physical exercise is my greatest challenge, and I know I have to do something about it NOW. Thanks for the encouragement and good ideas.

  7. I had a pretty good exercise routine going for the better part of the year. Our living situation changed, and threw everything off but I’m hoping to get back to it soon.

    But I’m a firm believer in loads of water. Need to work harder to get sufficient sleep.

  8. Weight Watchers is my saving grace. Whenever I see the weight creeping on, I fork over the money for three months of WW Online and start tracking everything I eat. It seems I have no self-control unless I’m accountable somewhere!

  9. I’ve lost ten pounds, but I haven’t really done anything except watch what I eat. It’s been nice. however, I’m hoping after the new year I can start up an exercise routine again.

  10. oh my, I hate to say it but our Treadmill is folded up and hasn’t been opened for far too long. This is a reminder to me so thanks.

  11. Walking is GREAT! I used to do that, but lately it hasn’t been enough. Running makes my workout go quicker, too! LOL!

  12. My day job is as an exercise instructor–this is great because I get paid for avoiding the writer’s spread while getting paid!

  13. Great ideas so far. This past summer I hit the treadmill first thing in the morning to get the juices (and sweat) flowing before diving into my writing for the day. However, once school started and one kiddo’s bus arrives at 6:52and the kindergartener has to be picked up at 11:00 – well, let’s just say that routine flew out the window. It’s time to rework my schedule to get treadmill time again.

  14. You bet! 3 mornings a week in the gym after school drop-off and before work/writing starts! And, in the evenings, we go out as a family … hubby and I power walk or jog with the kids doing bikes/scooters/etc. I schedule in exercise like a meeting!

  15. Water, water and more water. That’s pretty much all I drink.

    I do need to get back into yoga & trail walking, though. And here in the desert, it’s the perfect (cooler) time of year to do just that.

    Thanks for the gentle reminder to have a balance in all things. I needed it!

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