I will tell you honestly, it is difficult for me to maintain a healthy lifestyle and my writing simultaneously. Yoga or pajama pants are my go to for sitting at my desk at writing. And of course, for the writing time to be effective there must be coffee or tea and a snack. On second thought, I don’t seem to get a lot of writing accomplished between sips and bites. What really ends up happening looks something like this:
- Make snack and drink.
- Type a few words between bites.
- Drink is now cold, go reheat.
- Notice all the dishes that still need washing and decide to ignore them.
- Write a few more sentences, then remember that I need to reply to a message.
- Drink is cold again, reheat.
- Turn on Pandora in a effort to not be distracted by my loud kiddos.
- Try to stretch neck and legs finally understanding why everyone had such good posture in the Victorian era.
- Take a sip. It’s cold…again.
- Leave writing for now, promising to return after the kids are in bed, and wash those darn dishes in order to make dinner.
- Dinner, nagging, bath, clean up puddles on bathroom floor, bedtime.
- Sit down to write, as promised, but brain is tired. Decide to watch The Office instead.
I’m sure many of you have similar days. It’s chaotic and somewhat unproductive. What if you and I were to throw in some workout time in there? Can’t be done, you say? Try it and see, say I. Though inspiration often comes from the heart, the ability to put the muses mumblings into words comes from the brain. Therefore, we would be wise to stimulate our brains before sitting down to write.
Affects of exercise on the brain: Annie Daly, of Women’s Health magazine, list five benefits of exercise to the brain. It boosts endorphins, combating depression, which frequently plagues writers. Stress is reduced even if there are dozens of things on the to-do list. Memory is improved. Imagine thinking of the perfect line and NOT forgetting the exact wording by the time you find pen and paper. It trains the brain to reach goals. After reaching a goal in something as odious as exercise, meeting your word count will be a cinch. Lastly, it helps you to stay focused.
A study published in the Creativity Research Journal, demonstrates that though there are health benefits to be derived from exercise in general, aerobic exercise specifically boosts creativity. They found the effects of weight lifting, for example, would help for a short period of time but then creativity would soon wane. With aerobics, however, it was determined that creativity was augmented for up to two hours.
It seems illogical, but using half an hour to exercise can increase the amount and quality of writing that we can achieve rather than taking time away from the to-do list. How would you like to be able to have a clear mind when you sit down to write, to be in a better mood? Personally, I would love to write without the distraction of muscles that have too long been sedentary. It may feel like a sacrifice at first, but I am positive that we will see amazing results in our writing and overall health if we implement this.
If you decide to give it a try, please come back and share your experiences with the rest of us!