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The Indestructible Author: Healthy Habits for Fighting Words

The Indestructible Writer

Hi, my name is Roland, and I’m a writer

I’m also a health coach.

For my first thirty five years I was sedentary and overweight. Like many people, I grew up sitting all day. Instead of playing outside, I was reading, studying, and watching TV. Once I got a job – it was more sedentary time.

Then, in 2003 I had a wakeup call. I chose to change my lifestyle and stay alive for my kids. I lost over 100 pounds, and I’ve kept it off ever since. I went from overweight and inactive, to lean and excited about movement!

I had a sedentary job back then, and I have a sedentary job now. Since 2008, when I started my first book, I’ve written almost every day. I’ve stayed fit, lean, and healthy, but only because I threw out the standard advice to “eat less, move more,” and replaced it with strategies that actually work.

Like you, my writer friend, I want to write. I need to write. …and going to the gym, shopping, cooking, walking the dog, and even opening the office door to talk to the family stands in the way of that need. Writing. Comes. First.

I want to write forever

One morning in 2010 I woke up with pain in my wrist, tingling and numbness in my fingers. As I got out of bed to stretch my aching hands, I was reminded that I logged in 17 hours of typing the day before. Almost an entire technical manual during the day, a data conditioning script for a client, then two or three chapters of my book, Man on Top, before bed.

If you’re anything like me, you write because you love it. You write because you have to. It’s your calling. Your passion. I dream of one day retiring, and my dream does not include stopping my writing. On the contrary, I dream of all the extra time I’ll have to write because I’ve retired!

I literally looked down at my hands like they were failing me.

Good habits, bad habits

With a nod to the ironic, I headed back to my computer to find my writing partner on Skype. Galina, now my wife, is an exercise therapist. She talked me down off the ledge.

“Remember how your feet used to hurt?” she asked.


I had plantar fasciitis just a few months before, and it was gone after following her advice.

“A few simple changes and how do they feel now?”

“I actually forgot they hurt,” I said.

“If you make some small changes now, you’re going to forget this, too,” Galina said.

Together, we came up with a plan.

  • I set a popup timer on my computer to remind me to get up and move every once in a while.
  • I tacked a list of three stretches to my cubicle wall.
  • I added my new self-care plan to my online workout journal, for accountability

“That’s it?”

Galina assured me that more would be coming, but I needed to get these habits down first. A week or so later, and I’d almost forgotten about the pain in my wrists and hands. Those small changes had been powerful.

Don’t let perfect be the enemy of progress

Most of us have an all or nothing attitude. The truth is, that each little thing you do (or don’t do) for your health, adds up. Each plays its small part in an ache, a pain, a pound gained, or a productive writing day lost.

Start taking care of yourself now, with small, but powerful changes, and you will write forever.

Three simple steps towards becoming an indestructible writer

Walk more – Walking works. Clients and readers lose weight and feel better just by walking more. It’s not just about the calories, but also blood sugar regulation and fat burning hormones. Average 10,000 steps per day, but it’s okay to work your way up.

Start every meal with protein – Many of us are watching our weight, and protein is a key to success. Foods high in protein tend to be the most satiating during the meal, and keep you full long after you’re done eating. Each meal should contain 20-30g of protein, each snack 15-20g or more.

Try more standing – You’ve probably tried to write standing, and failed. Writing takes focus, and doing something new, like standing to write, takes mental energy just to learn. Instead, use your standing time to email, read, edit, or work on social media. Start by moving your laptop to a countertop or to a box on your desk. You can always spend money on a standing desk later.

Pick one and see how you do.

I know what you’re thinking. “That’s it?”

Yes, for now.

You have to start somewhere, and everything you do adds up. Become a success at one of these first, then add another, then another.

I’ll be back next month, and if you want to be an indestructible writer, so will you!

Have you tried making small changes to improve your health? What’s worked? What hasn’t?


Originally published on OCWriters

Roland Denzel

Roland has been helping authors just like himself be more productive and write more books, all while staying healthy, happy, and sane since 2015.

Read his story right here, and if you want to send him a message, visit Roland's contact page here.

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