Welcome to AT HOME WITH HARRIET!  Each month, our dear, sweet Harriet Hodgson, will share her life with us.  She will share writing tips, articles based on 44 years as a freelancer, and articles about current events and issues.  You don’t want to miss one episode of AT HOME WITH HARRIET!  Because as you can see from the photo below, Harriet always has a lot going on!

At Home With Harriet! (3)



February 14th is Valentine’s Day. Because of this, we think of February as the month of love, when we give cards, flowers, and chocolates to loved ones and friends. After typing my way through the holidays, I think this month, and all that follow, are times to practice self-love and care.

Self-love is defined as having respect and regard for your well-being and health. Self-care is just that—taking care of yourself, eating healthy, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep.

But we get so involved in writing that hours pass without notice. Where did the time go? The results are sore back and eye strain, two things we don’t need. What can we do? We can take more breaks: eye breaks, micro breaks, rest breaks, stretching breaks, and exercise breaks. Let’s start with the eyes.

I wear bifocals and need them to read. When I’m online, however, I take off my glasses. To protect my eyes, I close them frequently and/or turn away from the screen and look across the hall at my bedroom. Some health experts recommend eye breaks every 15 minutes. I think that’s a good idea.

Micro breaks are quick breaks when you rest your hands, stand up for a minute or two, or stretch your body. After I read about micro breaks, I incorporated them into my work schedule. Stopping for a few minutes didn’t interrupt my writing flow and made me feel better.

A rest break is just that; you stop working and rest. You may have a cup of coffee, tea, or a cold drink. This may be a good time to toss a load of wash into the machine or start making soup for dinner. While you’re taking a rest break your subconscious mind is still working.  

Stretching breaks are surprisingly helpful. I stand up and stretch my arms above my head and to the side. Now frequent stretching breaks are on my To Do list. We may take other steps, according to Jill Henderzahs, PT, D.P.T., author of “Mayo Clinic Q & A: Avoiding Pain while Working at a Desk.” Her recommendations:

  • Ensure your eyes are at screen level
  • Increase font size to reduce eye strain
  • Invest in an ergonomic chair
  • Make sure your feet touch the floor
  • Avoid bending your neck

You may choose to invest in ergonomic software that monitors work hours and tells you when to take rest breaks. As members of RRBC and RWISA, we are worthy of self-love and care. Let’s do it!


~Author, Harriet Hodgson


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  1. I love these tips, Harriet! Much of my working career was behind a desk – luckily, in my position, I was often called out to investigate something on the shop floor. However, there were times when breaks did not come because of being wrapped up in something and losing track of time. I felt it afterward. Great tips – even today in retirement, whether you sit at a desk or on a couch in front of the tv for long periods of time. Thank you for the info!


  2. Thank you, Harriet! I immediately uploaded break-reminder software thanks to your good advice. Hours can go by without my being aware of time passing when I’m in the zone. This should be a big help in protecting my eyes and health! I love AT HOME WITH HARRIET!


  3. Good morning Harriet. Love the article and the advise. Small breaks are important to break up sitting and staring at screens. Could not agree more, and love the additional tips. Thank you so much for adding this POV.


  4. Hi, Harriet! I laughed at your frame debacle, especially since I actually boxed and moved a bunch of frames I’ll never use in the new house! Unfortunately, I have no one to return them to! I’m sure you’ll make good use of yours. I’d love to see your artwork!


    • If you go to Facebook you’ll see it. Right now I’m locked out of Facebook (another story for another time) and am waiting for a reply regarding my new account.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Harriet! I agree with your marketing suggestion. Back when I published Cherries in 2010, I designed a “tri-fold” brochure with all the information you suggested. It was a great communicator. I usually left piles in the restrooms at football and baseball games as well as on my table for book signing and other events. I designed it on WORD and went through two printings of 1k ea. Only problem was that it was only influencing my local areas. However, it was a great advertisement which helped me sell a ton of books during the first six months. Great post!


  6. Hi Harriet, I enjoyed your thoughts about common curtesy and its absence in modern society. I was thinking something similar quite recently about the demise of manners. I have always associated manners with consideration for another person.


  7. Harriet, I so agree with you. The basic of courtesy are something that seems to be slipping away. Thank you for highlighting it in your spot


  8. Hi, Harriet! I love this post. I’m also late to the party and look forward to the next issue. Your advice would change the world if everyone practiced courtesy according to your guidelines. I’ve learned to speak when I admire something about someone, even strangers in passing. A sincere compliment can make someone’s day, and so can a bit of friendly humor. We need more of your wisdom!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I love this post, Harriet. This is something I am always teaching my students. The reading program we use teachings them the 4 Ls:

    Look your partner in the eye.
    Lean in a bit to show your interest.
    Lower your voice when it’s your time to speak.
    Listen actively and repeat what you’ve heard to make sure you heard your partner correctly.

    Courtesy is so vital in any relationship. I, too, miss seeing it in our society. I hope it returns on a global scale one day. Until then, I do my part in my circle of influence. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi, Harriet! What a timely message. I hope that many will take heed to your advice and grow in those areas where they realize that courtesy opens many doors – and the lack thereof, ensures that those same doors are closed to them.


    Liked by 1 person

  11. Harriet, I do agree that we were brought up differently than today’s generation. Kids today will knock you to the side to get through a door instead of holding it open for you. I do like your suggestion for single sentence compliments…I’ll have to start handing them out. Thanks for your insight!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Great article on fonts, Harriet! I always let my book cover designer pick the first font to see how I react to it. Then, we fine-tune it from there. The cover for my soon-to-be-released novel went through several revisions. The first font was pure chaos, which kind of related to the story, but it made me anxious just looking at it, so I thought it would deter readers. The second version used a color that didn’t quite fit the story. The final version feels perfect to me. The font is in all caps in black and is surrounded by yellow (darkness embraced by hope). Font really does matter, and I’m happy you are bringing attention to it here. 🙂


  13. Thank you, Harriet, for your tips on choosing fonts for your cover. It makes so much sense. I had no idea so many existed. I’ll need a designer for my next three books, and hope to find one who knows their fonts.



  14. I completely agree, Harriet! I try to wait as long as I can before publishing. For my short story, I waited a couple weeks after my critique group finished going through it. For my upcoming novel, I’m waiting about two months before reading through it one more time. I always have a list of words I use too often that I know I will go through and edit. Spending time away gives the author a more objective eye. Great post! 😊


  15. What great advice, Harriet! I love the two week waiting period idea, when you aren’t in a last-minute, slide-under-the-closing-door deadline rush. I’ll wait several weeks after writing a first draft of a book before going back to edit, and it’s true that your brain works on it during that rest period. Waiting also calms the nerves and resets your eyes to catch those typos, or at least most of them. I’ll be more mindful of scheduling, as well. AT HOME WITH HARRIET is a wonderful feature, and I’m grateful for it and for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Hello Lady Harriet,
    Thank you so much. You make me feel normal. I have the same problems and when I get in a hurry or I am over excited about something I am writing, I don’t see the typos. I don’t even recognise sometimes that I have not written the complete sentence but just a part of it. I do my best to put my work aside until I have put enough distance between me and the story, or article, or whatever so that I can see the mistakes.
    Thank you for the wonderful tips. The ones that you have mentioned that I don’t practice, I will start doing.
    Wishing you a lovely weekend and a lovely month of July.
    Shalom aleichem

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Harriet, your father and mine must have been cut from the same cloth. Your dad modeled a life of integrity for you by the way he lived it. It shows! At Home With Harriet is a great feature I’ll look forward to every month.


  18. Thank you for this joyous article about the gifts, given from your father.
    It reminds me of the song “Oh my papa,to me he was so wonderful.”
    My papa was just that. He was a complicated man who had a difficult start in life. Eventually becoming an English school teacher.
    He taught until he was 85 years old. Dad loved the little children who arrived in the U.K. from Vietnam, fondly known as the boat people. He had the privilege of teaching these children English in the latter years.
    And he died aged 90 yrs.
    He helped me to always strive for goodness and to do the best of my ability. He was so proud that his youngest daughter choose a nursing career spanning nearly fifty years.
    Thank you Papa.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Harriet, this is a wonderful tribute to the man who obviously made a positive impact on your life. I love this space. I look forward to seeing more.


  20. Hi Harriet. Reading your story made me think of my own dad. He was a troubled soul. He took care of us as best he could when he was home. He took care of another family and I did not get to see him as much and we weren’t as close. In his own way he did love me as was demonstrated in the way he searched for me after I grew up and left home.

    Reading your story touched me and made me look back and appreciate what love 💘I did receive and recognize it for what it was.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Hi Lady Harriet,
    One of the greatest gifts your father gave you was persistence. That is a gift that you can’t buy in a store but it comes through patience and determination. So nice working with you, Lady.
    Shalom aleichem

    Liked by 1 person

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