Writers tend to hole themselves up in their room/writing space, under a blanket, in the dark chasm of the basement. (That’s a bad day, when you feel like crying. You know, when you have to edit and you think everything you’ve ever written is complete and utter bullshit.) We don’t get out, don’t move, really.
I know. Exercise. It’s the same tired line all the time. Your doctor tells you to do it, magazines tell you to do it, even the First Lady tells you to do it. Yawn. I’m going to jump on the bandwagon and tell you to move.
I’m not saying go run a marathon. Oh dear god, don’t run a marathon. Unless, you know, you’re a person that can run. And likes running. Which I do not. It’s not conducive to my, let’s say, chest area. If you do run marathons, more power to ya. I commend you. Be proud, dear runner.
For those of us that weren’t blessed with the genetics of a deer, try something smaller. Like walking. Slow, easy, walking. Ah, that’s better. Or yoga. Or waving you arms around like a maniac. Or playing on a swing set. Or dancing around to music blaring through your earbuds. (Which will probably ultimately end in deafness, but who cares? It sounds so good when it’s pounding the crap out of your eardrums.) It doesn’t really matter what you do, as long as you move.
There are multiple reasons for my insistence on movement. One is the obvious health reasons. (I know: yawn.) We all know what those are: heart, lungs, ass size, all that jazz.
I have back pain. (Who doesn’t, right?) Sitting in front of a computer plucking away all day makes it worse. (Who woulda thunk it?) Movement, especially periodically throughout the day helps. Yoga, especially. There are yoga videos online (as I’m sure you are aware). There are even what I’ve dubbed ‘lazy yoga’ videos. They’re a few minutes long, you don’t have to change clothes, you don’t break a sweat, and you barely have to move. Now we’re talkin’. See? Keep it small if you want. Or go rock climbing. Dealer’s choice.
The third, and most awesome, benefit of movement is two-pronged. Not only does getting the blood pumping for a few minutes clear the mind and get the creative juices flowing (Can we say energy to write?), it also could potentially give you some ideas. I walk my dog twice a day about a half mile each time. He gets to poop in his favorite spot far away from the house, I get to stretch my legs, and there are people. Everywhere. Ah, people watching, the glory of writers everywhere. Even if you don’t use said people in your stories, it’s an opportunity to think like a writer. (Also, study the clouds, leaves, grass blades. It’s all good fodder.) For instance, there’s an old man (ancient, really) in my neighborhood who walks everyday. Nothing special there, really. What’s interesting about this man is he gears up like he’s hiking the Appalachian trail. I’m talking trekking poles, pack, the works. Why? And now I’ve got a mini story I can make up in between trying to keep my dog from ripping my shoulder out of socket when he runs after squirrels and picking up dog poop. I’m (probably) not going to write any of it down, but it keeps my mind working. And it’s fun.
[Side note: I also went wandering around downtown for exercise one day and saw a hippie in an antique store (Shopping equals exercise, by the way. You’re welcome). A real, live, bandanna and bell-bottom wearing, hippie. But I think that’s a story for another time.]
So get up every once in a while and take a deep breath. Walk around your house. Shake your ass to some music. Chase your kids/dogs/roommates around. Just move. Then go back to being a hermit and banging your head against the wall. (Can you tell I’m in the editing process?)