Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Writing Exercises

Are you ready? I'll bet you are expecting a list of story starters here, aren't you?

Or perhaps a few unrelated words for you to braid into a story.

Or a scenario complete with complications for you to untangle.

Sorry, that isn't at all what I have in mind today.

I've re-learned something the past few weeks that I'd like to remind you of. I suspect that many of us writerly-types forget it from time to time. The lesson I've relearned is this: one of the most effective ways to increase my creativity and productivity as a writer is to give my body regular exercise.

"Aw, shucks!" you're thinking. "I've heard this before."

About a year ago I forgot that lesson. About a year ago I waded into the daily habit of getting out of bed, stumbling straight to my computer, praying, writing for my other blog (My Conversations With God), then spending a few hours researching, emailing, & writing. Usually sometime around noon I would shower & dress. I kept telling myself I was making wise use of my time by following this routine.

I wasn't.

Looking back over the past year I can see that the more time I spent at "writing" the less productive I was becoming and the more difficult it was to be creative. Also, my body was becoming increasingly sore & stiff (Fibromyalgia) It took me several months to figure out the root of my problem.

I know. I'm a very slow learner and you are probably much smarter than I. You probably figured out long ago that your mental fitness is directly impacted by your physical fitness. You probably understood years ago that physical exercise is good for your brain. [Now why didn't I remember that from all that brain research stuff I learned as a teacher?]

Since January 1, 2009, I've been following a different routine. I awake, stretch to praise & worship music, walk & jog with Leslie Sansone, shower & dress, eat breakfast, then sit down, read Scripture, pray, & start blogging & writing. I find that the increased circulation to my muscles also feeds oxygen & nutrients to my brain. It's happier and that makes me happier.


I find it easier to concentrate now, I'm much more productive, and my body isn't as stiff & sore as it has been the last few months.

I've re-learned that before I pick up a pencil & plant my bottom in my chair I need to pick up my hand weights, turn on the music or DVD, and walk, jog, kick, & side-step around my living room a few times. Exercise. Heart-pumping, muscle-toning, mind-feeding exercise.

It's working for me. What's YOUR writing routine like, dear writer-readers? What do you do to get your heart pumping and your brain cells working?


WordWrangler said...

Thank you for this! I started out the year great...then the last couple of weeks I've gotten out of the routine. I needed to hear this!


Kim Kasch said...

It's true. You can't get inspired unless you have a full life.

Kristi Butler said...

I'm headed to the treadmill right now!!! You've inspired me!!! Thanks, Jean!!

Amy Tate said...

Very good post. I needed to hear that. I have a hard time finding the time, and worse, I like to be alone when I exercise and that is next to impossible with a 5 year old and a 9 year old. It's an area that I need to work on but I don't know how.

Jean said...

Thanks for your comments writing-buddies. Honestly, I feel sooooo much better now both mentally and physically.

Here's hoping it improves my publishability, too!