Writing and Exercise

I read a blog here on Word Press about a week or so ago about knitting and the gym: how they are similar. Writing and the gym (and knitting/crocheting) are also very similar. It perhaps seems like writing and exercise are two things one can’t do. Writing is often sitting at a keyboard, while the gym is motion.

But they are very similar in fact:

  1. Keep your goals in sight, but enjoy the process. As a writer, especially when working on something lengthy, I often feel depressed that I’ll never finish. But sometimes each little piece is wonderful. Just like the gym. I often think I’ll never get the body I want, and can become frustrated with the process, but I love working out, and getting stronger. You cannot give up!
  2. Sometimes setbacks happen. You need to take care of them before you can move forward. Haven’t you heard of revision? Sometimes you have to delete whole scenes and start fresh to get where your story needs to go. It can be a painfully frustrating situation to have to redo what I’ve already written. Goes for the same in the gym if I push too hard and have to take time off because I didn’t listen to my body. Listen to you story, and it helps!
  3. Not everyone appreciates your efforts as much as you do. Just like it sounds. Sometimes you are the only person who will appreciate your writing. Write for yourself, be selfish in your writing. As long as you write! The same goes for exercise. “Don’t do it because someone else wants you to. Don’t do it because you think you should. Do it because you love how it makes you feel and look!”
  4. Don’t be afraid to try something new. For the first years of my writing I only wrote fantasy stories. And I only attempted to write fantasy novels. I knew the genre well enough as that was all I read. Then I branched out and wrote about the ‘real world.’ I was surprised that I liked it better and I was better at writing it! In the gym there is so many different exercises that you can do. Go online and learn different ones; change up your routine.
  5. Know when attempting a challenge is a bad idea. If you feel out of your element as a writer or it’s late at night, or the project feels wrong, don’t do it. Challenge yourself another day. In exercise do not go when you are feeling sick or fighting off. Only go when you feel your best (or close to it).
  6. Surround yourself with like-minded people. I don’t think I can stress this enough. Writers, we are a different breed of crazy. I don’t know about you, but my characters talk to me, pout, throw tantrum, etc until they get their way. Find a community of writers to surround yourself with. Twitter, writing.com, facebook. Reach out to other writers. You’ll be surprised at how much your writing changes (for the better usually). Try signing up for fitness websites and talking to people who love exercise. Exchange tips and motivations!
  7. Always choose the right tool for the job/goal.  If you’re used to working at a desk sitting behind a keyboard for hours, try something else, like pen and paper. Try different programs; use full screen mode to wipe out distractions. There are a lot of programs out there for any platform, and most have free trials. In the gym, you have to pick the right tool for the goal as well. Weights and machines for strength, cardio for weight loss.
  8. Make time every day!  Do NOT wait for inspiration to hit you so you can write. Inspire yourself. Half the battle is sitting down to write while thinking of every possible way to get out of it. No more excuses. Going to the gym is the same. Once you’re there you might as well work out. Notice that I said make time. Actively schedule time in to write (and perhaps work out). If you only have 15 minutes a day to write, use that time to write. 15 minutes to exercise? Do it.

(Idea/points taken from http://fitknitchick.wordpress.com)

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3 thoughts on “Writing and Exercise

  1. Excellent! Great to meet writers who are also exercise junkies! I agree that writing and working out are both things that need to be worked at, that you need to form into a habit which you can then improve on. If you only ever do either one sporadically, you won’t get very far.

  2. You nailed this, Andrew. It’s an excellent analogy; your points are spot-on. I always feel depressed that I’ll never finish, but just like working out, we have to take pride in the results we achieve along the way. We can’t stay fixated on the final product. And number six is so important. Outsiders can’t grasp what it is we do. We need the support of those who feel our pain.

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