Looking after yourself as a writer (first posted on An Awfully Big Blog Adventure)


Looking after yourself as a writer by Anne Booth

I didn’t know, when I started trying to write as a full-time job, that there were some health risks attached, and having encountered some of them, I thought I’d share what I am trying to do about them.

In order to stay afloat as a full-time writer, you have to work long hours, and I have found that sitting at my desk, involved in my story and forgetting to take breaks, has not been good for my posture or my weight. I know that I should get up and walk about more, but I am sure other writers will understand that it often doesn’t work that way – you don’t intend to sit writing non-stop for hours, but when you are deep into a particular scene the time rushes by and you end up being motionless for too long. Even walking my dogs doesn’t make up for those long stationary hours sitting down.

So, following the rule of 3, so beloved of those writing about story structure, here are three things I am trying to do about this:

1) I have got a standing desk.

I absolutely love it.  I read a proud tweet by the lovely writer Alice Broadway, (@alicecrumbs)    where she shared a picture of the standing writing desk her husband had made her. I’d been looking at standing writing desks for a while, and I was very impressed. So I contacted her and her husband, and Dave made one for  me, specially built to fit my laptop. All of the standing desks I saw online cost so much more than this one- and this one is so elegant and lovely and does the job. He is setting up a business doing bespoke woodwork projects, and he is available to make other writers standing desks. His twitter account is @daveyboydanger and I highly recommend him and his desks!

2. I have joined a community gym, but because I am feeling a bit shy about exposing my lack of fitness in front of others, I have invested some money for some one- to- one sessions with a very kind, young, fit, personal trainer called Poppy. I NEVER thought I would do anything like that, but I am so glad and I need it so much. My shoulders hold so much tension, and my weak core muscles would never get me a place on ‘Strictly Come Dancing’, and Poppy devises brilliant exercises to help. I can feel the good of it. Poppy is also very pleased about the standing desk. And, by an amazing coincidence, I have found that Poppy is the niece of the art director in a publisher who will be publishing a picture book of mine in 2020! It is definitely a small world!!

As a self-employed person I am definitely going to claim for the standing desk against tax, and I am going to ask about claiming for the personal training, as other people work in offices where they have free gym membership. If I hear back that you can, I will tell you.

3. I have gone away on a writing retreat. As most writers know, you can also claim the cost of going away to research and write, against tax. Not having an office to go to, and working alone at home, takes its toll on your mental and emotional health, and I have been struggling a bit with that. It can feel very isolating not having work colleagues and working on your own all day, and you never get away from your domestic environment. I am very lucky that my lovely husband built me a writing hut in our garden, but every so often I need to write intensely and be in a quiet environment with my meals made for me, but also with the company of other writers. I have just come back from writing (and copy and pasting!) tens of thousands of words at a writing retreat in France called Chez Castilllon I highly recommend it. It opens again next year with some wonderful tutored retreats, but you can also attend and just do your own  work.
I did worry about spending money – every writer will understand that – but if I can get a contract for the work I did then, which I am finishing now, it will more than pay for itself, and I also always feel so much better emotionally and mentally for spending time with the lovely people who run it, Janie and Mickey Wilson (Janie is the brilliant writer Janie Millman) When you go on retreat you also have the company of the other writers who happen to be writing there, and I was very lucky with the company I was in this past week and really enjoyed meeting everyone. I was particularly lucky that one of the people there for her own work was the very experienced and very very good  writer Jo Thomas, who in one sentence at one meal, told me not to worry about a particular issue and advised me to put back a whole section of work I had removed because of it. Suddenly I had copy and pasted back thousands of words,  the book I was writing made sense again, I was much MUCH nearer completing it, and I am very grateful. I also really enjoyed reading Jo’s books in bed at night – they are very relaxing, romantic and well written, so I have discovered a great new writer to read!

So – buying a standing desk, going to see a personal trainer to get bespoke exercises to sort out fitness issues, and going away on a writing retreat, have all been ways I have looked after my health and invested in my career as a writer. If I see this as a business investment so I can keep going in the long-run then I don’t feel guilty about spending money on myself, and I can already see the good of all three things.



Things there are no photos of (From a post from ‘An Awfully Big Blog Adventure’



My post for this blog (I post on there on the 21st of every month)

Blog Tour (Review & Author Q&A): Across the Divide – Anne Booth (Illustrated by Serena Rocca)

I am very happy with this lovely review of ‘Across The Divide’

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‘A book that broaches, binds, blends and bridges big issues…
This is more than historical fiction; this is a story movingly written in a one-of-a-kind way that ensures it will stay with you long after the last page is read.’

Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

 Across the Divide
Author: Anne Booth (@Bridgeanne)
Illustrator (Cover): Serena Rocca (@SerenaR_art)
Publisher: Catnip Books (@catnipbooks)
Page count: 320
Date of publication: 7th June 2018
Series status: N/A
ISBN: 978-1910611111

Perfect for Year 5, Year 6 & Year 7.

1. Tolerance 😌
2. Lindisfarne 🏰
3. Divide ➗

Olivia is stuck in the middle of a horrible row that threatens to tear apart her family, her friendships and her community.

Visiting the island of Lindisfarne, she meets a strange young man, caught between war and peace, who may help her decide what to do.

A beautiful, thought-provoking novel about seeing both sides and having the…

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Lindisfarne and ‘Across The Divide’ – re blogged post from ‘Minerva Reads’




Across the Divide by Anne Booth

I am so happy with this review of ‘Across The Divide’ – that is exactly what I hoped readers would get from the book!

Rhino Reads


‘When her mum is imprisoned for leading a pacifist protest against the local army base, Olivia must go and stay with her dad on the remote island of Lindisfarne. To make things worse, her friend Riya isn’t speaking to her and Aidan… well, Olivia really needs to sort things out with him. And who is William, the mysterious boy she has met on the island? A novel about family and friendship, but most of all about finding the courage to fight for what you believe in.’

Anne Booth has great warmth and heart in her writing and it shines through this book, making it a gentle hand-hold through the confusion of war and pacifism. Olivia’s current day story is beautifully linked with young people’s experiences of enlisting versus conscientious objection in the First World War. Perfect for topic work around war and pacifism and understanding diversity, Across the Divide belongs…

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Characters Who Pray by Anne Booth

I am very grateful to Miss Cleveland for hosting a post in a blog tour for my book ‘Across the Divide’, and I really really wanted to write about this issue.

Miss Cleveland is reading...

It’s a pleasure to welcome Anne Booth to the blog today with a wonderfully thought-provoking guest-post, as part of the Across The Divide Blog Tour, to discuss religious characters in children’s books…


In my new children’s novel, Across The Divide, I have, as one of the main characters, a teenage boy who wants to do God’s will, and openly talks about praying to God to help him decide whether he should go to war or not. He believes that discerning God’s will is the most important thing in his life, and that it would be better to die than to be separated from God. He believes his religion has told him it is right to kill others if it is God’s will, and that he should be prepared to die for his beliefs.

I wanted to write about this boy because I have become very aware in these past…

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Across The Divide by Anne Booth

I am so, so happy with this review of ‘Across The Divide’! I am very grateful to Miss Cleveland for it. I am so delighted as well that the role of the character Riya is highlighted – she is a character I wish I could be more like!

Miss Cleveland is reading...

Publication Date: 7 June 2018


Cover illustration by Serena Rocca

When Olivia’s mum is arrested for her role in a pacifist protest, she finds herself rushed off to Lindisfarne to stay with her dad, a man she barely knows anymore. With life at home in complete turmoil, that’s the last thing she needs if she’s going to mend her broken friendships. The peaceful pace of life on the remote island gives her plenty of time to think about the events leading up to her stay there. Can she find the strength she needs to finally speak up? And then, there’s the mysterious William – kind, gentle and always there when Olivia needs him – who is he?

What an amazing book! Emotionally charged, this gently-told tale tackles big issues: pacifism versus war; stereotyping, the resulting bullying and modern journalism’s role in whipping it up & making it better; and the…

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