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On The Eighth Day of Christmas


On The Eighth Day of Christmas

Happy new year!!

I hope you had a good one no matter where you were or what you were doing. Many of us may be nursing hangovers this morning, so let’s keep it short and sweet for today’s Twelve Days Of Christmas Writing Advice. And today, is day eight.

Of course, on January 1st, it has to be all about new year’s resolutions. Last year I committed to looking after my back because those who understand the writer’s life know that we do suffer with our backs and, although I could have done more, I did look after it a lot better than I did the previous year which I spent in a huge amount of pain. This year, it has got to be getting another pop-up bookshop up and running, right? Or even, a permanent bookshop. Ooh, let’s see, but most of all I wish for good health and happiness for me and mine and you and yours.

Back to my back, the key to a healthy back at this age — at any age — is exercise. But as today’s author explains, a healthy exercise regime isn’t just about physical health and she has a very creative suggestion for getting your daily dose of fitness.

You may recognise Emma Forrest from my Writers Recommends. By 30, Emma had written three novels and had swapped her Sunday Times column to pursue a career as a Hollywood screenwriter. Her novel Royals was a Radio Two Book Club pick. Her memoir Your Voice In My Head published in 2011 was critically acclaimed, as was her second memoir, Busy Being Free which I absolutely loved. Don’t forget, you can watch my interview with Emma here, and buy her curation of books featuring women writing on obsession here. But, let’s hear from Emma herself, on the topic of her best writing advice…

Emma Forrest

Exercise has been a vital part of my mental health strategy for decades now, and the great thing is: the more protected your mental health, the wilder your writing can be!

“I do like doing light weights/pilates and yoga at home and the interesting thing I’ve found through the pandemic is exercise by zoom in cities all over the world. I work out a lot via a studio in New Orleans, and it seems to really inspire my writing to see through their windows, into their beautiful city, as they’re waking up and it’s our afternoon. That kink in time and space has triggered a lot of strange and interesting ideas post work out. 

“So that’s my counter-intuitive writing advice in the covid era: finding a zoom work out on the other side of the world from where you live and see what kind of writing emerges after you’ve sweated across time and space!”

• Don’t forget you can buy Emma’s books in The Book Room. She also has a podcast series called Benign Narcissist which you can find out more about here.

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