Last week I saw five talk show segments about how to prevent those unwanted holiday pounds by exercising. Whether or not exercising can stave off your holiday pounds, it can have a more important role for your writing. It can help you be more creative and prevent writer’s block.
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Since I write a fitness blog I rarely have a day when I’m not active in some way. It’s just a part of my routine.
But when I’m struggling to get a lead just right or come up with the next plot twist I can use a specific exercise to push me along and let my brain work out parts of the story.
“Researchers noted that regular exercise seems to be associated with improved divergent and convergent thinking, which are considered the two components of creative thinking … ” says the Huffington Post about a new study published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.
For me there are two ways that exercise keeps my writing fresh. The first is to use aimless or repetitive exercise, spinning or swimming or running, that does not require focused mental energy to empty my brain so it can work for me.
Many times after swimming, surely the most monotonous exercise, I run to the locker room to jot down ideas that spontaneously occur to me during the workout. Turns out that boring has its advantages and we don’t get to do boring much in today’s world.
Another way I can get my brain to delve into new areas is with a focused exercise, a barre class or group calisthenics workout that requires the brain to count or pay attention completely to the activity. You can’t possibly think about your writing while you are focusing on 35 pushups or crunches.
When you come back to your work after, body revved up by the increased blood flow, you start from a fresh perspective. You can start anew with whatever you were struggling with. Instead of worrying about those extra pounds this season, try some exercise for your brain instead and see if it makes your writing easier. That might be the incentive you need to keep at it throughout the New Year.