This is post #9 in a fifteen post series, entitled “15 Days to Writerly Awesome in 2015,” posting on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday of January.
Below is a guest post by my friend Christine of the Better Novel Project:
As writers, we know there is one tried-and-true way to write a novel: Put your butt in the chair and write it.
But, like every rule, this one has an exception: exercise. And no, this isn’t a metaphor about exercising your fingertips. I’m talking about…(gulp) working out. To take the anxiety away from the idea, let’s start with the idea of taking a walk. You like long walks, right? Seriously, grab your pup and go. Here are three reasons why it will improve your writing.
Walk for Mental Clarity
Ever feel that burny-dry-eye-blink from staring at the screen for too long? After going for a walk, you return with your mind refreshed and ready for higher order thinking. No really, that’s science. And that higher order thinking may be just what you need to catch those typos, or realize which paragraph needs to be moved up a few lines to be oh-so-much better.
Walk for a Better Mood
Are you really writing during your screen time? In case you haven’t figured it out, refreshing your feed over and over again is bad for your psyche. That’s science too. Those little red bells, alarms, flags, notifications, and buzzes-- or lack thereof-- can be a vicious cycle. Sometimes I hear my inner critic saying “nobody cares about you” as I check these things. Why do we do this to ourselves?
Stay positive. Break the cycle, even for a 15 minute walk. Come back and attack the blank page. Then post all over twitter because, hooray, word count.
Walk for Creativity
Something about setting the body on autopilot really lets the mind free to wander. Maybe it’s a small plot point that you can resolve, or maybe you’ll overhear a perfect snippet of dialogue. Going for a walk lets me entertain all my “dumb” or silly thoughts without that inner critic getting a chance to reject them. So when you are really stuck with what should happen next, walk it out!
Finally, writing and exercising are both habits. You may not *feel* like exercising, just like a lot of times you aren’t inspired to write, but you do it anyway. And who regrets taking a walk or writing 1000 words? It’s just a matter of getting over the hurdle of deciding to get up/sit down to do it.
To get writing and exercising to the daily habit level, join my brother Matt Frazier and me, over at writeandrun31.com. We are encouraging our readers to write and exercise everyday for 31 days straight. It’s got a positive facebook group for accountability and encouragement. You can start anytime (read: right now).
Christine (@BetterNovelProj) is writer, joyous outliner, and compulsive doodler. Follow her research on Better Novel Project, where she deconstructs bestselling novels, one index card at a time. She currently has over 90 index cards that show the common elements of Harry Potter, Twilight, and The Hunger Games in her master outline, which you are welcome to use!