Many of you (OK, a few of you. OK, I know I heard this question from SOMEONE) have asked me: how did you train for your four 30-day blog-a-thons, Elise? And how do you recover when you’re done?
Here is my response. Feel free to use these tips as you prepare for YOUR next writing adventure!
I trained for this month-long exercise in grammar and punctuation as I train for most of my life’s challenges. I tell everyone I know that I’m going to do it. Then I worry excessively that I won’t be able to do it. After that, I carbo-load for a couple of weeks (I do this even if the challenge involves zero physical activity. A little pasta never hurt anybody, right?) The night before it begins, I have terrible dreams involving catastrophic failure and/or zombies.
True to form, this iyear’s training period featured blabbing, fretting, fettuccine and, yes, zombie dreams. On November 1st, I leapt out of bed, ready to type my little heart out!
And so it goes. Every day of every November since 2016, no matter what the weather, I show up at the old keyboard and put in my 500 words. I confess that some days it’s slow going, and I am hampered by Writer’s Cramp (remembering to hydrate helps here). If I hit my stride, though, the nouns and verbs and prepositions and gerunds fly past in a thrilling blur. I have experienced that enviable and elusive “Writer’s High” and pushed on to 510 words, but that doesn’t happen often.
Today I complete this year’s event, which means it’s time to relax. Here’s how I approach the days and weeks after 30 blog posts (the following is adapted from an article in Runner’s World):
It’s important to rest! Some experts suggest one day of rest for every essay posted, during which the only writing done is grocery lists and doodling. After that, begin an active recovery program. Active recovery includes reading Writer’s Digest, and even perusing a dictionary, if your brain is not too sore. Keep it low-intensity, no more than 65% of your max heart rate (avoid romance novels!)
Avoid a hot tub for 48 hours. Afterwards, barring injuries, you can use a hot tub. **Note to self: purchase hot tub.
Return to blogging with some easy-paced, light topics (the origin of the universe, favorite cartoons). But be aware of your breathing! If it sounds like a locomotive, you need to take it easy until the train reaches the station.
The recovery period is a good time to decide what you want to do next. Planning your training and setting goals (budget for spaghetti and hot tub, for example) are great ways to use your time during recovery. Congratulations!!
So that’s the plan, gang. It’s been a blast, but now I’m off to rest and recover. See you in a few weeks. Who knows? I may have thought of something else to write about by then!