Write even when you don't feel like writing. There is no muse. It's hard work. You can always edit a bad page, but you can't edit a blank page -Jodi Picoult
Last week I struggled with finding the motivation to do two of my favorite things-Writing and working out. While I lay in bed watching episodes of The League with my husband, drinking wine, eating chocolate left over from Easter and fighting the overwhelming sense of guilt about not writing and working out, I started to think about the parallels between the two.
-For me-starting a workout or writing session is the hardest part-once I get started, it becomes easier and I always feel better once I've completed it.
-They are both habit-forming-the more I do it, the easier it gets. I can run longer, lift heavier weights when working out and similarly I can write more in a session. Somehow the flow in both my workout and my writing seems to require less effort, when I do it every day.
- I find both easier to accomplish when I set goals. For example, this week I started a 30 day squat challenge. Each day, I add more squats, with a rest day every fourth day...gradually building up to 260 at the end of the month. Similarly, I've worked backwards from my book deadline and set a target word count to be reached each week to get me to THE END. ( I set a weekly goal instead of a daily one because despite all the writing reference book's suggestions to write everyday, even for just a few minutes-let's face it, life happens and some days it just doesn't happen for me, so I've given myself permission not to totally freak out over it, causing me anxiety which will lead to writer's resistance, and I make up the missed words on another day. Slippery slope? Maybe, but as long as I hit the weekly total, I'm happy.)
So, after looking at these similarities and wondering why I've chosen two things that bring out such a love/hate relationship within me as the things I love to do, I dug a little deeper into the relationship between them and here is what I discovered...
-EXERCISE CAN HELP YOU WRITE BETTER! Wow, who knew? Okay, maybe the rest of you did...I'm a little slow.
Anyway, it turns out that physical activity increases blood flow to the brain, it also increases the growth of new neurons and improves their functioning. Not only that, but it also improves the connections between neurons. The more connected a brain is-the better it functions.
In addition to these facts, we all know excercise improves our mood, relieves depression and anxiety, which in turn will help chase away the limbic system which impedes on our creativity.
Plus, exercising increases our dopamine levels and a higher than average dopamine level is associated with creativity and our ability to visualize scenes in our mind.
Don't worry if you don't really understand all of the neuro-babble, I don't either. All I know is-anything I can do to help the creative and writing process, I'm willing to try...and dropping a dress size along the way is a fantastic side effect:)
So, who's willing to commit to twenty minutes of exercise a day?