I should perhaps start this article by saying this is not about saying ‘EXERCISE OR YOU’LL DIE’. I hate articles like that, they seem to forget that death is an inevitable side-effect of mortality. Grim, but true.

Nope, this is simply about the fact that writing a stationary occupation so let’s move about a bit. I’ve got to admit that up until about a year ago my idea of exercise was synchronised biscuit dunking. I can’t say I’ve had a dramatic body transformation but maybe that’s because I can’t afford Photoshop.

Anyway, back on point, I’m not going tell everyone to take up exercise if they don’t want to but I would suggest trying it. It turns out that it’s quite a good time to think about writing without having to stare at the screen, not at first mind. At first, if you do anything more strenuous that a gentle walk, you think you’re going to die and your muscles hurt because they never been expected to do more than double dunk a biscuit. But it gets better.

Once I got passed the oh-my-god-I’m-sore-and-tired-and-hungry stage I found I got more productive, perhaps because I’m not very good at sitting still unless I burn off some of the energy first. After an hour of weights or jogging I’m quite happy to sit down and not move for a bit. Though I presently disprove that yoga is a calming activity because I’m thinking about the next episode in the Weekly Serial, anyone who has read the present run may agree that Charlotte is not a calming narrator to have in your head.

Of course, that doesn’t mean I expect everyone to jump away from their keyboard and pick up some dumbbells. Maybe go for a walk, vacuum a bit, clean your keyboard, try something that doesn’t directly relate to your writing to give you a chance to think about it without the daunting empty page and you may discover you untangle that plot knot a little faster. Sometimes I do my best thinking when I’m not sat at a computer. Except when I’m so distracted by thinking about a story I switch the clothes dryer on without putting any clothes in it. I have done that. Thankfully only once. So far.

The point I’m trying to make is that sometimes when you’re stuck on something actually sitting there staring at it is not always the most productive way to get unstuck. I found exercise helped me but it might not help everyone and if you don’t want to do exercise then that’s fine too. Just don’t feel the need to sit there staring at your little flashing cursor feeling bad that you’re not sure what happens next because it will only make you feel worse and sometimes the brain comes up with ideas if it’s just left to percolate for a bit.

That said, having finished this article I now feel a sudden urge to check I have definitely put clothes in the dryer.

P.S. If you decide to take up some exercise I’d recommend FitnessBlender, just so you know this isn’t a sponsorship thing I simply like their exercise videos and positive fitness message, ‘healthy looks different on every body’, I think they phrased it once.


For more writing advice see my archive page.

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