H2 . . . oh!

As writers, we spend long hours in front of our computer screens, concentrating on our words, and we often neglect our bodies. We think our dry mouths and pounding hearts are as a result of the thrilling words we’re turning out. Yet it’s just possible we’re on the verge of dehydration because we’re not drinking enough.

We’re also at risk of obesity, but we’ll discuss that another day. For today, let’s look at the very real risk of not getting enough to drink.

You’ve probably heard of the recommendation to drink eight glasses of water a day, but much of that depends on what else we’re drinking. Perhaps you find, as I do, a glass of Coke gives you energy and helps you to think clearly. So that’s an ideal way to improve your productivity at the screen, right? And it adds to your fluid intake for the day, right?

Wrong on both counts. Coke, or any other caffeinated drinks, may give you a temporary lift, but here’s the bad news:

Caffeine is a diuretic. It causes increased visits to the bathroom, and depletes your water resources. So if you drink four cups of coffee a day, you need to add four cups of water to your required quantity.

Caffeine can also give you jittery or anxious feelings and cause you to lie awake at nights. So drink plain water. It will give you more energy, as well as cleansing and washing away toxins in your body.

Unfortunately much of the water that comes from our taps (faucets) is contaminated, so you’re better off drinking filtered water.
Tap SA FilterBuying bottled water is a temptation, but it works out pretty expensive. Rather invest in a water filter. You can get a free-standing filter, or you can add a filter to your tap, as we have. We use filtered water for all our cooking and for boiling in the kettle. (It keeps the kettle sparkling clean too. No build up of lime or other mineral deposits.)

Hot weather or air-conditioning also adds to the potential problem of dehydration. During those long, dry days of summer, you’re more at risk, and for those of us who live in the southern hemisphere, NaNoWriMo falls in summer. (Although the way the weather is behaving right now, it’s difficult to know whether the weather man knows this.)

Not only does water prevent dehydration and give us energy, it also helps prevent snacking, so keeps our weight under control. It also improves our complexion. So why are we so reluctant to drink more?


Here’s how to boost your water intake without effort:


  • Rinse out some water or drink bottles, fill them with filtered water, and leave them overnight in the freezer.
  • As you work, keep one bottle next to you (on some paper towel to absorb condensation).
  • Sip on it as it melts.
  • Have a glass of filtered water at room temperature next to you, and if you feel a snack attack coming on, reach for your glass instead.
  • If you feel sleepy, drink a glass of water. More on this on Thursday when we’ll look at “Seven Ways to Avoid the Afternoon Slump”.


Until then . . . happy writing! And healthy drinking!

About Shirley

Shirley Corder is an author who writes to inspire and encourage. She has a passion for helping other writers and cancer survivors.