by Christine Kling
Whether it’s writing or sailing, people want to know what kind of tools you use to get the job done. At readings, people often ask writers the specifics of exactly how they do it. I remember back in the pre-computer days, I went to hear author Rita Mae Brown speak, and she said she always wrote with a Mont Blanc pen. I rushed out to buy one – until I saw the price. And we all know how important it is to take proper care of our tools, be they computers or socket sets.
The most important tool we use, though, is our bodies, and lately, I haven’t been taking care of that tool. And when you’re trying to write on a deadline, it’s more important than ever. I’m so smart when it comes to having 20/20 hindsight, but somehow that never prevents me from doing stupid things.
I am currently docked in Merritt Island, Florida which is some 180 miles north of the place I have called home for the last almost 30 years. Recently, I ordered some stuff from Sailrite to repair my dodger, and I forgot to change the address, and it was delivered to Fort Lauderdale. So, that was on my mind that I needed to get that package. My car had been acting up, and I have a trusted mechanic in Fort Lauderdale. The Terror needed a grooming and that was in Fort Lauderdale. I had stuff I wanted to put in my storage locker down south. You get the picture, right? The tipping point was when the folks in my critique group said they were meeting on Wednesday in a bar instead of the usual coffee shop because everybody was up for a little wine and whine. How could I resist that?
So, Wednesday morning I got up at 4:30 a.m. after only 4 hours sleep, and I drove south. I stopped at a truck stop for coffee and a greasy breakfast sandwich. I dropped my car off at the mechanics at 9:00 and walked in the rain to a library to work for the rest of the morning. After handing over the equivalent of my monthly pension to the mechanic, I barely made it to the critique group, and when I got to the apartment after 9:00, I stayed up to do email and more work. Of course, I didn’t sleep well in a different environment, and I again got about 4 hours of sleep.
I awoke at 5:00 a.m. sneezing and sniffling. I ran errands all day and grabbed junk food on the fly. I made 3 stops at Starbucks and by the time I headed out for the drive north at 4:00 p.m. I had a massive caffeine headache. I drove up I-95 with my box of tissues trying to see through watering eyes. When I got to the boat and remembered I needed to write a blog, I wanted to cry. Instead, I set my alarm, crawled into my bunk with my caffeine buzz and stared at the overhead willing my eyes to shut.
What’s up with this? I treat a pair of vice grips better than I treat my most important tool. If I can’t stay awake, I can’t write, I can’t sail.
So, the time has come to make a resolution. Just because I retired from the day job to write and live on a boat doesn’t mean I can let my body fall into complete disrepair. If I want to write the best book I’m capable of writing, it matters less what computer or software or pen I use. What matters most is the condition of my brain, my shoulders, my back. I’m going to eat better, go to sleep earlier, and exercise more. There — I said it to the world.
Now can I go take a nap?
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