Sunday, June 12, 2011

Bad for Flab, Great for Fiction

A year and a half ago I attended a writers residency hosted by a Big Name Writer.

Early one morning I wound my way through the historic hotel down to the basement. My heart flipped when I walked into the boutique-sized gym and recognized the Writer, pedaling a stationary bike nowhere fast. I hopped on the treadmill and cranked up the speed, unwise for a Midwesterner recently arrived to the mountains. Half an hour came and went and I kept my feet, but before I could scoot out the door the Writer stopped me. “So why do you exercise? Many writers don't.” I'm pretty sure words came out of my mouth but I have no idea what they were. Since then I’ve mulled the question.

Movement fuels story action.

Stories are built on action and conflict. Recreating action for characters at a computer screen is difficult if you and I aren't active.

Movement brings resistance.

Exercise is a kind of conflict, the stuff of stories.

Exercise forces us to push through our own fatigue, weakness, fear, discouragement, and sloth so that our characters do, too.

Movement sharpens the mind.

Increased blood flow increases oxygen levels in the brain, resulting in greater awareness, better memory, and stronger creativity when we do sit to write.

Movement improves mood.

The release of various chemicals in the brain leave us feeling more satisfied and more relaxed. Our family, friends and readers will thank us.

Movement boosts energy.

Writing isn’t our only job. Exercise improves our entire cardiovascular system so that our body becomes more efficient in performing all those other tasks.

Movement brings sleep.

Exercise can help us fall asleep faster and deepen our sleep. Better rest ushers in better concentration and productivity tomorrow.

How do you stay on the move?


1 comment:

  1. Great post, Renata.

    Actually, most of my exercise consists of beating around the bush, running around Robin Hood's barn and jumping to conclusions. Unless if you count the calories I burn with my gift of gab or all the workout my fingers get on the keyboard.

    This helped encourage me to exercise. Thank you.