Fitness for Writers
Everyone says it’s important to stay fit. And it is. All those doctors can’t be wrong, right? For us writers, we have a real problem on our hands. If we’re doing our job like we should, we’d be in front of a PC typing away, scarfing tortilla chips and wine with reckless abandon, to go with the reckless abandon what we’re writing. That path is straight to an early grave. As romantic as the writer who wrote himself to death sounds, I’d like to live long enough to see the death of big five publishing and flying cars.
Do I really need to?
Short answer: yes. Long answer: yeeeeees. Does it need to be soul destroying? Not really, countless studies have shown that even short bursts of moderate exercise can make a huge difference, such as this, this, this (guess which one is most important on that list) and of course, this.
Fact is, to be a better writer you need to exercise. We need fitness for writers or we will die fat and unpublished.
What to do, what to do…
Well, we could join the gym or run around the block for hours like normal scrubs. But that takes time away from writing, and ain’t nobody got time for that. It is important enough to warrant the time investment, as the above links show, but where can we find the time?
So what is the authorpreneur way?
Author entrepreneurs always need to look at optimizing their time: you only have a few hours per day to get everything done. We’ve talked about stealing time before, so maybe this is one of those places where we can steal time to make time. Or we can just budget for it out of our time allowance and get it done.
How much time?
According to Harvard University, I’ll need about 30 minutes a day. But since I’m an overachiever, I’m going to go for an hour. That way, if I fall short on any given day, or miss a day entirely, I’m still well within the guidelines. To put it into perspective, I’m looking for 4% of each day here, that’s what 1 hour of your day is to you, 4% of your total time each day. Even 2% if you’re going for the 30 minutes thing. Maybe I’ll just stick with the 30 minute thing as well. No! Go for the hour!
Now we have time what do we do?
Running around the block for half an hour seems like a sure way to make me quit after the first week. There must be a way to make fitness for writers interesting. I’m thinking I can make use of the time to do constructive things for our author entrepreneurship.
Learn while you run
Listening to music is great when going for a run. But there is something better: Listening to audiobooks and podcasts on the various facets of the business that you want to master! I’m subscribed to a pile of podcasts and own quite a few audiobooks just for this purpose. A cheap mp3 player and some sporty headphones was all it took for me to go all out learning mode at 5am when I go for my 30 minute run. Now that this is my primary time to listen to podcasts, and I can prioritize reading on other times, such as when I’m waiting in line or on the bus.
It does not need to be non-fiction
Listening to a fiction audiobook is a great help as well. You get quite a lot from hearing dialogue in an audiobook. Things like what sentence structures stand out strangely, and what words sound good in a novel context. As part of your writing process, I would recommend reading it out loud to yourself for these very reasons, and the audiobook versions of other people’s work can help tune your ear in addition to the other benefits you gain as a writer from being in contact with another authors work.
HIIT it hard
High Intensity Interval Training is the idea that short bursts of massive effort can be more effective time wise and exercise wise than jogging. Plus, it’s actually a lot of fun. When I go for my daily 30 minutes, I’m doing a sprint-walk and wheeze-jog-sprint and repeat routine (while listening to Pat Flynn or Joanna Penn being enthusiastic about the business). Have a look at the benefits here:
Learn in the gym
I try to do strength training once a week for this and this reasons. But the same applies for gym as when I’m running. I’ve always got my mp3 player rolling with podcasts and audiobooks. (Gyming to a reading of the Dresden Files by James Masterson is particularly weirdly homo-erotic, however learning is learning, right? Anywoo,I’m sticking to non-fic for now.)
Exercise really does make you a better writer
Personally, I can attest to an increase in production due to my fitness for writers routine on top of finally finding time to listen to all those interesting podcasts that I had cluttering my Evernote. I’m more focused when I am working, and that early morning burst of learning sets up my whole day in a creative way.
Where can you fit in your 2 to 4 %?
I’d love to hear where you fit in exercising into your writing life. Pop me a comment below! Crowd sourced ideas are the best.