#IWSG: Stop Writing – Get Some Exercise!

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InsecureWritersSupportGroup That time of the month again—the time when I make my offering on behalf of Alex Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writer Support Group, a bunch of bloggers bent on being the best at helping fellow writers beam bright in the blogosphere and elsewhere in the writing firmament. If you’re interested in sharing your views, pop on over to IWSG and sign up. Each month, we write about something that interests us, and that we hope will be of interest to others; advice, fears, triumphs, etc.

This month, I’m going to depart from the usual advice to writers, to wit, WRITE, WRITE, WRITE, and tell you that sometimes the best thing you can do for your writing is to STOP!

Given that I’m usually spouting off that the only way to write well is to write often, and my frequent suggestion of having a 1 – 2,000 word per day writing goal, my regular readers are probably scratching their heads in wonder right now. Bear with me, though, and you’ll see the method to my madness.

Everyone has, no doubt, heard or read the old adage, ‘a healthy mind makes a healthy body,’ or something along those lines. The meaning of that is usually, a good mental attitude is important to maintaining physical health. But, scientific studies have shown that the opposite is also true: maintaining good physical health helps to improve brain functioning. Staying physically active, keeping your heart, lungs, and blood vessels healthy helps ensure adequate oxygen gets to all parts of the body, including brain cells. And, while we’re talking about exercise, which is great for maintaining the physical plant—muscles, bones, vital organs—it’s also great for conditioning the brain. That’s right. Science has discovered that the brain has more plasticity than previously thought, and even in adulthood, can be improved through exercises such as puzzles, learning a new language, or learning to play a musical instrument.

Ideas, and the manipulation of language are a writer’s stock and trade, which means that for us as writers, the brain is one of our most important possessions. It stands to reason, then, that we should keep it in top condition. So, to keep that idea engine humming along like a Mercedes Benz S500, step away from the computer for a short period every day. Get out and walk through the park—briskly. Start every other morning with a nice, heart pumping workout, work the daily crossword—with a ballpoint pen.

You don’t have to sacrifice any of your writing goals to do this. Like writing, exercise can be worked into a 24-hour day if you really want to do it. Turn off the TV for thirty minutes. You’ve seen that episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer anyway. Get out and walk around the block

Your writing will be better for it.

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6 thoughts on “#IWSG: Stop Writing – Get Some Exercise!

    Yvonne Hertzberger said:
    August 5, 2015 at 12:49 pm

    I have found making time for regular exercise a necessity. Gym 3 times a week, yoga once a week, walking and gardening in between. And I make sure not to sit too long without at least going to the kitchen for a drink of water.

    Like

      Charles Ray responded:
      August 5, 2015 at 12:51 pm

      A wise and productive schedule. I also keep fresh water near my computer, so I can rehydrate frequently.

      Like

    Jacqui Murray said:
    August 5, 2015 at 3:10 pm

    There’s merit to that approach. I find if I taking a Writing Holiday, I have trouble getting trough it without writing. Some day, I won’t feel that way, but for now, I enjoy it.

    Like

    ahtdoucette said:
    August 6, 2015 at 1:53 am

    So true. I haven’t made it to the gym in a while and I really, really feel it.

    Like

    Diane Burton said:
    August 6, 2015 at 12:25 pm

    Excellent advice. Everything in moderation. Boy, is that hard to follow.

    Best wishes,
    Diane IWSG #95

    Like

    doreenb8 said:
    August 6, 2015 at 7:09 pm

    I am trying really hard to get better at backing away a bit each day instead of allowing myself to write for days on end without a break. It is such a difficult balancing act and you are so right, taking short breaks throughout the day is a great plan.

    Like

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