I have read it countless times by a countless number of successful writers: You should exercise your body if you want to exercise your mind.
Now, I used to shrug this stuff off with an, “ of course!” But that was because I always maintained a strict exercise schedule consisting of running, biking, and weight-lifting… that is, until I had a baby.
That sort of threw a wrench in the whole “I’m the healthiest writer in the Universe!!!” mantra.
It wasn’t that I had no time to get the sweat on. Instead, I had absolutely no motivation to find out that I had gotten VERY out of shape.
So, many months pass with absolutely NO exercise, and guess what… the same amount of months pass with NO writing or fresh writing ideas, either.
Why was that?
Well, I wasn’t exercising.
So, how does exercise help the writing mind?
For me, exercise forces me to get deep in thought… it is the only way I can avoid the pain of exertion. While deep in thought, the ideas flow. I can concentrate on character, plot line, dialogue… I find solutions to logical inconsistencies in my storyline… it’s amazing!
Recently, I have had a dearth of ideas.
Running cured that.
It happened this weekend, when I decided to start back on the old routine. I took a four-mile loop around the neighborhood and ran into a patch of bees.
In short, I got stung in the chest, back, and the upper left arm.
I have an aunt that is deathly allergic to bees. I asked myself the question, “What if I were deathly allergic to bees?”
I really could be. It runs in the family.
I wondered if I should stop running and sit down for a moment. Then, all sorts of mental tragedy ensued.
What if I died right there on the sidewalk, just blocks from the nearest hospital, because I had left home without an epiPen? What would my husband feel? Would my newborn son miss me? What would my dying thoughts be?
Then I imagined running along a lonesome trail in the mountains, away from any immediate pathway to salvation. What if I got stung there, and died? How long would it take for someone to find me?
I don’t know about you, but to me, that’s a great story to write! It isn’t complete as-is… but I can bounce off those ideas, and really construct a situation full of conflict.
Now, I’m set. I really want to write this story! I want it to be tragic, creepy, and yet, I want something about it to shock the reader. I know exactly how I want to do this… and all of it crafted on my way back home, throbbing from my bee stings.
Once I got inside, I jotted down a few thoughts, and completed my mental outline in the shower.
I would never have known that exercise was vital for my creativity if I hadn’t stepped away from it for a while, gotten back into it, and suffered three itchy welts.
So, get going, y’all! I want to hear your exercise stories. Write them, and post them!