After much kicking and screaming (or rather laziness and grouching) I’ve finally accepted the reality that if I want to get good, creative work done…I have to exercise.
Writing is, from a factual and physical standpoint, a very motionless and almost sterile activity. As alive and invigorated as I feel while I do it, sometimes it alarms me after a long day of work to realize that I basically just sat in a chair and stared at a screen with the majority of my waking moments. I need to get out. Yet, it also amazes me that with the way my heart rate leaps up for my characters, the way my face flushes, and how much work my fingers do on the keyboard, that writing doesn’t count as some sort of exercise.
My creative juices just flow so much better with fresh air though, there’s no denying it. Lately, my formula has been for a four-mile midday walk. I head up to the high school, just like I always used to back when I drafting my first novels and figuring out the new magic of self-publishing. It’s kind of nice to take that familiar stroll and remind myself of who I was then, and the magnitude of my dreams even at that age.
When I walk, I spend a lot of time imagining questions people would ask me in an interview and trying to dream up witty responses. I’m not going to pretend like that’s somehow good preparation for public speaking…it’s just a vain little detour away from everything else on my mind! It does me good to get away from my manuscript and social media accounts though. When I walk, I focus on breathing a lot more than I do when I’m sitting at my desk. You wouldn’t think something as instinctual as breathing would be something you need to focus on, but that’s one of the many lessons I’ve learned about myself in the past year. If I focus on breathing, I do it better. It’s easy to get caught up in thoughts and work and only breathe enough to sustain you, not relax you.
I know I should get back into hiking or high impact aerobics or weight training…any of the number of things I used to do, but for the time being it’s nice to just regulate myself to something simple that will keep me at this cozy baseline of health I’m maintaining, despite all the stress I manage to work into my life.