The majority of writers I know battle weight issues. There is nothing athletic or aerobic about researching, brainstorming, writing, editing, or marketing. It’s what we want to be doing; what we need to be doing to get that pesky but necessary income—not to mention get those annoying voices out of our heads. Most of us are balancing a ‘day job’ on top of the family on top of the writing career. When we do manage to carve out an extra hour, racing for the treadmill or bicycle rarely happens to be at the top of the to-do list. Yet, it is important.
There’s a trend going on—I’m seeing more posts from more friends about getting more creative about the exercise process. Teaming up with friends to train for a 5K run; specifically giving a character a sport to play that involves learning it herself to write about it correctly; and the newly popular exercise desks, where a treadmill or stationary bike is built into a workstation or even just a simple board across the rails of a treadmill for a laptop to sit on. Some folks at work are arranging desks so they can work standing up. Looking forward to seeing posts of what is working and what isn’t.
A yoga teacher mentioned the importance of any kind of movement in keeping the body functioning properly—helping the digestive system work right, keeping the lungs pumping, etc. The theory on exercise desks seems to be that, even if one isn’t writing while on the treadmill, one can research, update Facebook, check email, or whatever and save the seated computer time for actual writing—and slow, constant motion is better than none at all.
I now begin the logistical Fall hell that is school sports. I’m pulling out the pillow to sit on in the icy-cold metal bleachers, and charging the netbook nightly so I can work in the stands during practice and games rather than losing writing time two to four times a week. I knowingly did this to myself, urging my kids to find outlets like the volleyball, basketball, baseball, and swim teams because it’s important to stay active.
Is there a Muse for Irony? A Patron Saint?
As much as we wish it were otherwise, writing isn’t just words. It’s not just imagination and grammar skills. Not just brain and fingers. The whole body is involved, and the whole process goes better when everything is working correctly together. Healthy habits, whether ergonomic writing space or a daily walk or making sure your eyes are rested, benefit more than your body, they benefit your mind, your imagination, and your story.
Now this is a reminder I desperately need. I get so caught up in getting my word count in that I ignore my body’s cry for exercise. And I know better! I know that my creativity will benefit from a brisk walk or some work with weights or even a little stretching! I used to have that very good habit and have allowed myself to use writing as an excuse to get out of that habit. Thanks for the reminder to make exercise a priority! Heck, if it’ll make me a better writer, that should be reason enough! 🙂