(This was originally posted on my main blog at http://zbpublications.wordpress.com)
Since the publication of Other Systems, I found myself constantly battling taking time out for myself until pure exhaustion would knock me out. Between the comics and all of a sudden being a published author,
I was getting irritable and more than a little crazy. Any given week, I work 40 to 60 hours. That’s just the gig, but especially on convention weeks, I was working 80 – 90 hours. Maria and I finished Faminelands #3 just last week, but I have other books I want to write, plus conventions, plus promotional stuff, plus social media, plus…well you get the idea.
Something had to give: for me it was my weight. Other Systems added 30 pounds to my bum and tummy. Some people can put on 30 pounds in good places. Not me. Still I don’t really care about the weight–what I care about is my writing and artwork.
Here are a few tips that I have found if I follow, my work is actually stronger, plus I feel better too.
1) Make time to exercise. In the middle of the day Monday through Friday, I walk my and my neighbors dogs. I also try to do either in the afternoon or at night time, an exercise DVD as often as I can. Yes, I know its an on going joke, but I really do like Sweating to the Oldies.
My favorite breakfast: this quiche has red peppers, artichoke and parmesan cheese. (http://www.boulangerienantaise.com/about.php)
2) Garbage in/garbage out. I’ve a terrible sweet tooth but I make sure I eat fruit and vegetables each day. I also take my Flintstone vitamins — yes I realize they are for the kids, but I hate to swallow pills.
Most importantly, I have begun to always eat breakfast. I used to skip breakfast until I realized I was crashing at noon and shoving anything halfway edible in my mouth. My favorite is quiche or scrambled eggs with cheese, but even if it is just a croissant with jam, I force myself to sit down and eat. My diet is certainly not perfect, I also drink a latte each day.
3) I admit I ignore my own good advice with this next one. When I am stuck on something, I know if I walk through the neighborhood, I normally see something that triggers my mind. Yet, I tend not to do it. Instead I try to powerhouse my way through the problem. Then I am no better off than I was. It is important to get up.
4) Now if the above doesn’t work for you–this next one might. Clean your house. So if I can’t bring myself to leave my house for a walk, generally I will take 15 minutes to vacuum my apartment, load the dishwasher, or some other small chore. Personally I feel the pressure of the unclean house. My husband and I live in a one bedroom apartment. There is no where to hide the mess. Plus it is our mess! We should be the ones who clean it.
5) I try to take at least one full day off during each week. Generally this will be a Saturday or Sunday for me so I can spend time with my husband, but after a convention it will be a weekday. Maybe two.
6) Find yourself a hobby. I build lego castles, bake, and sew. I like to go stargazing and in the winter I enjoy snowshoeing. I also try to take an hour at least to read the news and ongoings of the world. It is very uncomfortable moment for an author to go to a party and realize they have spent so much time in their made-up world, that they have no idea what is going on in the real one. Thankfully my phone is filled with cute pictures of Rosie and Tycho.