Sunday, November 09, 2008

On The Move - Christina Hollis

For as long as I’ve been working as a writer full-time, I’ve kept a regular routine. I start work the minute I get in from the school run. Once the computer is up and running, I start on the work in progress, aiming for a thousand words. There’s a tea break at ten-thirty, helped along by a bit of cake or chocolate, of course! Then I work on until lunchtime. That’s generally around one o’clock. A quick read-through of what I’ve done during the day, and then I take a walk. Until this year that could be a ramble of up to three miles, finishing at the local school in time to meet my son for the walk home. Then in March this year I got cellulitis and reactive arthritis in quick succession. For a long time a walk of one hundred yards was practically impossible, much less the ten thousand steps I used to aim for each day. Stuck at home, what’s a woman to do? Trying to take my mind off the aches and pains, I spent more time sat at the computer. The harder I tried to work, the more difficult it became. So then I hit the comfort food in a big way. Oh, dear. The more cake and chocolate I ate, the faster my clothes shrank. I bought a new dress for the Mills and Boon Centenary party in February this year, and what a horrible shock when I came to try it on for the Authors’ London lunch in September! From being a little bit too big in spring, autumn found it rather, er, snug here and there.

That was a wake up call. Luckily Michelle Styles, who writes historical fiction for Mills and Boon, happened to say that her new rowing machine is a great aid to inspiration. Exercise helps her think. Then I got chatting to Carol Mortimer, who was so enthusiastic about her new project that she really inspired me. All it needed then was for Michelle Reed to tell me that when the work is going well she writes without a thought for time-tables or word counts. Now I’m feeling better, I’ve started walking again – power-walking this time, so it’s more like real exercise. That kick starts the inspiration, so by the time I get back to my desk in the morning I’m raring to go. And hooray - my waistband isn’t digging in quite so much today.

Let’s hope my new burst of enthusiasm can combat Gloucestershire’s dreary November weather, or it’ll be back to the comfort food!


christina said...

Darn - I forgot to remind you all about the competition running on my website unitl 28th November. Just go to, click on 'Christina's blog' and answer the simple question you'll find there for the chance to win signed books and other goodies. Good luck!

Michelle Douglas said...

Commiserations on the cellulitis and reactive arthritis, Christina - it sounds awful... and I can only imagine how truly dreadful it becomes when it interferes with one's writing. Like you, I live for my routine.

But am wishing you all the best with your new burst of enthusiasm! And am going to follow your lead and go for a walk. Right now! (Am going to work on the premise that your enthusiasm is catching)

Michelle Douglas said...

P.S. I LOVE comfort food!

Liz Fielding said...

Christina, I so sympathise with the spreading waistline. I had my daughter's wedding as an incentive to get the weight off this year and knew I had to include exercise.

I went for a wii and do 30 minutes every morning as soon as I get up and for the first time in years when I saw myself in the wedding pics I looked thinner than I expected rather than fatter.

Well done on the new active and enthusiastic you!

PS I completely lost it with a bag of nuts last night. We all need comfort food sometimes!

christina said...

Hi Liz - I've only seen wii exercise on TV. It obviously works for you - is it as much fun as it looks?
Unfortunately home cooking is my downfall. The family must eat even if I'm denying myself, and as I bake for lunchboxes as well and have absolutely no willpower...oh, dear...

Gina said...

Exercise helps reduce stress. l always exercise more during exams. l am also a smallar size then too. After l stop all the weight comes back.

Helen said...

I really should exercise more and we have a wii at home should look into the exercise bit of it.
Glad you are feeling better Christina

Have Fun

Michelle Styles said...

Exercise is still working for me. The great thing as well is fitting back into clothes that I have grown out of!
Hugs on all your health troubles and I am glad you are finding inspiration.
Walking is great for some. Margaret Moore is busy losing inches.

Michele L. said...

My problem with exercise is fitting it into my schedule. I guess we all need it and should make it a high priority. Many blessings to you Christina.