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KikiteNeko
05-23-2008, 05:05 PM
A while back, I took about a year-long break from writing. This was a first for me, since I wrote at least on a monthly basis since elementary school (for fun, not profit). I'd taken on a serious task, my first novel, and got freaked out about it. I put it in the back of the closet.

The year-long hiatus was a healthy thing for me. Although I worried for my neglected writing, I started exercising, I lost a ton of weight, I ate healthier, I was more social, and for once I could listen to a song or go to sleep without worrying about my characters or what would happen next.

It was nice. But I'm glad it passed.

I picked up my novel again, and finished it in a series of all-night frenzies, days of hermitage, constant thinking and planning. I'm happy I did it, and it's helped me to work on my present WIP.

But. The physical toll has become more than evident. Exercise? What's what? I've gained back every pound I lost with interest. I don't see my friends as often. I'm back to being moody and restless when I'm blocked.

In the longrun, it's all worth it for me. But it does suck that I can't seem to find a happy medium. My solution has been to light a few candles, throw on some comfy sweats, and just write and not worry about it. Which is great, until I have to wrestle into my jeans in the morning.

Anyone else feel the physical toll of their writing? Smokers? Dieters? Coffee addicts? Crabby moodswings? What-have-you.

Phaeal
05-23-2008, 05:16 PM
Exercise is crucial -- it keeps the blood flowing to the brain. Take at least a 30 minute walk every day. Break up a writing session with a walk. You'll find yourself suddenly breaking through plot barriers and coming up with new ideas as you move and get those endorphins surging.

You'll also give your poor back and fingers/wrists/arms a break.

The tortoise really does win the race, you know. Us old people know this. ;)

C.bronco
05-23-2008, 05:18 PM
You will lose all of the weight fretting over agents.

KikiteNeko
05-23-2008, 05:19 PM
You will lose all of the weight fretting over agents.


I wish! The agent hunt made me snack nervously.

Twizzle
05-23-2008, 05:28 PM
You've been in my head, haven't you, Tomo? :)

*sigh*

Yes. I cannot button my pants. BUT one book is with agents and two more almost done. So, it was worth it.

I take walks every day, I need to, it helps with the writing. But exercise--hah. And it's a problem. I'd fallen a few yrs ago-broke my back, tore some muscles. And I'm supposed to exercise.

So, now my back hurts, my eyes hurt. My waistband hurts. And we won't even go into the backload of laundry, cleaning, and Hubby neglect.

Yep. It's SO worth it.

CaroGirl
05-23-2008, 06:02 PM
Don't you know the best thing for writer's block is exercise? Stephen King knew. At his most prolific, he took a walk every day. That's how he got hit by that car...nevermind.

Shadow_Ferret
05-23-2008, 06:10 PM
Exercise is a must. Not only does it keep your body in shape, give you stamina for those late night writing sessions, and just generally makes you feel good, the exersion is good for your mind. The endorphins released by exercise actually help you to be more creative.

I just joined the Y. I'm looking forward to a burst of new endorphic creativity.


Don't you know the best thing for writer's block is exercise? Stephen King knew. At his most prolific, he took a walk every day. That's how he got hit by that car...nevermind.

I thought at his most prolific he was doing 12 ounce curls.

CaroGirl
05-23-2008, 06:15 PM
I thought at his most prolific he was doing 12 ounce curls.
If I knew what that was I might agree with you.

Cav Guy
05-23-2008, 06:21 PM
If I knew what that was I might agree with you.
Drinking.

Twizzle
05-23-2008, 06:30 PM
Don't you know the best thing for writer's block is exercise? Stephen King knew. At his most prolific, he took a walk every day. That's how he got hit by that car...nevermind.

*snort*

actually, I do walk every day. When I say exercise I mean, I have an elliptical and do yoga. Let's just say the elliptical is dusty and the yoga-well.

soon. very soon, and I'll get a break. And my pants will fit again.

(And then the Universe laughed...)

Storm Dream
05-23-2008, 08:43 PM
I guess what I don't see is why writing instantly means all exercise has to stop.

When I'm stuck, it helps to take a long walk (or hop on the complex's treadmill). Earlier in the year I started taking walks at least 3x a day -- two during work and one afterwards, or a gym visit. Lost a lot of weight and I find I have much higher energy & fewer bouts with plot problems...that, or I just go walking and nip 'em in the bud. :)

dovebunnie
05-23-2008, 08:55 PM
Yeah, I exchanged my hour of exercise for some more writing time last Nov, and I gained 8 lbs. I lost 3 lbs of that, but I also lost all the muscle tone I'd so painstakingly managed to attain (abs? where?).

I don't want to go to the gym, and I have no room for a treadmill or exercise machine. So I pick up the book I'm reading and I read it. And pace while I'm reading it. It's kinda sad to watch me, but no one does, so that's okay. :)

And it works even better if the book's big (reading the Gormenghast trilogy right now--LotR dimensions).

I'd walk outside with a book if I knew I wouldn't look retarded and that I wouldn't run into anything.

Mr Sci Fi
05-23-2008, 09:16 PM
Don't you know the best thing for writer's block is exercise? Stephen King knew. At his most prolific, he took a walk every day. That's how he got hit by that car...nevermind.

Haha.

Blondchen
05-23-2008, 09:57 PM
I have a favorite quote. It's by Martin Mull and really sums up my personal feeling towards excercise -

"The trouble with jogging is that the ice falls out of your glass."

:)

That said, I hit the gym twice a week, and walk the dog once a day, because if I don't I will blow up to the size of a small Winnebago and then writing will become very difficult with my sausage like fingers hitting two letters on the keyboard at once.

I guess the answer is balance. If you are going to spend 5 hours a day working/thinking/obsessing about the writing, you force yourself to spend an hour or two on yourself - excercising, doing something social, painting your toenails. My life, like everyone else's, is a big stress bucket but I've found that a glass of champagne and some bubblegum pink toenails really lifts my outlook on the day!

James81
05-23-2008, 09:58 PM
You seek balance Kimo Sabe. *bows*

Routine is key or writing will overtake your life and snuff you into oblivion.

It's a marathon, not a sprint, and slow and steady wins the race.

Have I used enough overused, tired, baseless expressions yet to get my point across? If not, here are a few more:

Shoot for the moon, champ, even if you miss you'll land among the stars.

Tomorrow is another day.

When God closes a door, he opens a window!

:tongue

Seriously, find a way to make your writing routine. Don't let it overtake your life or you'll get swallowed up in it. Set a word count goal for everyday and stick to it.

Also realize that your best writing comes from a life lived fully. The inspiration and passion within writers stems living their lives. The surest way I know of to burn out and dampen your writing is to hole up and be a hermit.


Don't you know the best thing for writer's block is exercise? Stephen King knew. At his most prolific, he took a walk every day. That's how he got hit by that car...nevermind.

The good news is, that that inspired what's looking to me like one of his most fantastic books to date. :D

dirtsider
05-23-2008, 09:58 PM
You could have a free weight by your desk and get some exercise that way. Just don't use it on the poor computer when you're frustrated.

Blondchen
05-23-2008, 10:03 PM
Have I used enough overused, tired, baseless expressions yet to get my point across?


Ooo, ooo, ooo. You missed my favorite (read, makes my skin crawl):

At the end of the day it's all about the art/craft/work/etc.

*throws up in her mouth a little bit*

Twizzle
05-23-2008, 10:40 PM
I guess what I don't see is why writing instantly means all exercise has to stop.



It doesn't, usually. That's why I'm hoping things go back to normal soon. But there are times, with deadlines, etc, that something has to give. And as a mom and wife, exercise went first. Along with laundry, etc.

Mid-April, the poop hit the fan, and I've been at the computer trying to get stuff done. And surprise, my summer pants aren't fitting. ;) But now, I'm almost out of revision hell. One week left. And then yeah, balance.

(Until the next round. Because there's always a next round. :()

But balance or not, there is valid point to Tomo's post. There is a physical price when you write full-time. I just went to a signing and the author was recovering from carpal surgery. You spend a lot of time on your butt, staring at a screen, typing. So yes, you need balance and you need to take care of yourself.

Danger Jane
05-23-2008, 10:53 PM
Last summer I started running every day and I pounded out a first-draft MS in under six weeks...record time for little old me. Summer left, school started, and it's taken me a year to rewrite that damn MS. The time I used to write during the summer went to school and school-related stuff, and the time I used to run during the summer went to writing. Led to a very unproductive year. Guess who's learned her lesson?

inkkognito
05-24-2008, 01:53 AM
Exercise is the thing that seems to go by the wayside for me when I'm deeply involved in my writing. Also, I don't get to ride my horse as much, which is essential to my mental health. It's a triple challenge because I balance my writing with two other jobs, one of which is very cyclic. I need to literally schedule in my exercise and leisure time with the same priority that I schedule my work...but of course I don't.

Still, I am offsetting that somewhat by not eating any desserts at all and cutting way back on sugar in general. That has helped with my waistline even with less exercise. I keep no snacks or desserts at all in the house and have no dessert when we go out to eat.

DWSTXS
05-24-2008, 02:03 AM
depression
anxiety
grouchy moods
beer, wine, coffee, chocolate
sex (If I remember correctly)

Kate Thornton
05-24-2008, 03:00 AM
I stick to a routine - it helps my writing and my painting and I am too modest to tell you how much weight I have lost.

I am very controlling about what I eat during the day - and when. 1 cup of coffee in the morning, water all day long, get away from the computer or easel every 2 hours, eat a really healthy plant-based lunch, knock off all work at 5pm. Oh, and take fun breaks - to AW or Evil Editor or somewhere else fun on the internet - at least twice a day.

In the evening, cook & eat a healthy light dinner with the family and go play (some kind of exercise is usually involved - could even be a walk around the home improvement store or a weed frenzy in the vegetable garden.) Get to bed by 11pm.

I take weekends off.

The key is a healthy routine so you are fit enough to enjoy the rush of writing.

Moonfish
05-24-2008, 08:46 AM
Get a dog... It'll sit by your chair when you're trying to write, quietly whining and begging for walkies and play time...

inkkognito
05-24-2008, 09:33 PM
Get a dog... It'll sit by your chair when you're trying to write, quietly whining and begging for walkies and play time...
Or cats that think the laptop keyboard is the most comfortable spot in the house to lay on.

KikiteNeko
05-24-2008, 09:45 PM
I have a dog and a cat. But they're both lazy.

scope
05-24-2008, 11:04 PM
As many have said before me, exercise of body, mind, and the five senses are a must, especially if one wants to be in the game for the long haul. I think the key is to make exercise a part of your writing process, to as large a degree as is possible. For example, I live 99 steps from a beautiful beach and boardwalk. Like most here, I often wake in the morning with many thoughts about what I wrote yesterday, want to write that day, about a new idea, and such. But I also wake up looking forward to walking or running on the beach or boardwalk before even eating breakfast. During same I gain some clarity, and after same I feel invigorated. I eat and then sit down at the computer to start my work day. Two or three times during the week, late in the afternoon, I go to my local gym/spa to work out and go for a swim.

You have to do it or you will go nuts.

Pat~
05-25-2008, 02:52 AM
My issue has usually been balance...mostly because I tend to hyperfocus on anything that I'm doing to the extent that it's a challenge to move on to the next activity. And I found that to be even more of a challenge once I stopped working full time, and became keeper of my own clock.

I really do love working out (but only because it's skating, which I love; I'm really not disciplined/motivated enough to do exercise for the sake of exercise, lol). But I've discovered these past few years that if I get heavily mentally involved in writing, I might keep postponing taking that physical break until I run out of time take one. That started having a detrimental effect physically and mentally, so now I'm getting back to doing the workout and home responsibilities first, and if there's any time left over for writing, so be it. (Gee, can I say that on a writer's forum? ;)) Which is probably why this year has seen much less writing productivity, but I'm sticking to plan. Those first two things were commitments long before I got into writing, and I don't plan on letting them go.

JeanneTGC
05-26-2008, 09:23 AM
What is this "balance" of which you all speak?

I write, therefore I am...

Not killing anyone, other than on the page or in my mind.
Exercising via my characters.
Able to consume mass quantities in the four major food groups -- caffeine, sugar, booze and chocolate.
Happy.

I spend the little exercise time I force myself into fretting that I could be doing something USEFUL, like finishing that last scene.

*shrug*

I've done exercise. It made me supposedly fit, and also gave me a bad knee and a bad back. It also bored me to tears.

I've written. It makes me more mentally fit and doesn't aggravate said knee or back. In addition to all the other benefits listed above.

To each their own...just do what works for you and you'll be right.

tehuti88
05-26-2008, 05:01 PM
I haven't noticed a physical toll (hence why I didn't reply at first) so much as an emotional/mental one...basically, depression. Lots and lots of depression. Granted, I'm pretty sure there's another source of the depression too, but the writing hasn't helped it much either. I did try antidepressants for a while, but they made me put on a ton of weight, which has started falling off (without dieting and exercise, might I add--so far) since going off the medication, so there was a toll right there, but only partially related.

What I've found must frustrating about this whole thing is that the very thing which gives me any feeling of meaning or joy in life--writing--is the same thing that frustrates and depresses me no end. When I mention how depressed my lack of readers or the apparent pointlessness of my writing gets me, people advise me to stop writing and try something else, but how exactly is one supposed to do that when writing is all they know and truly love??

KikiteNeko
05-26-2008, 08:55 PM
Thanks guys! I took some of your advice and went for a nice 45-minute walk up and down the neighborhood and it helped. ;)

MumblingSage
05-27-2008, 03:37 AM
I haven't noticed a physical toll (hence why I didn't reply at first) so much as an emotional/mental one...basically, depression. Lots and lots of depression. Granted, I'm pretty sure there's another source of the depression too, but the writing hasn't helped it much either. I did try antidepressants for a while, but they made me put on a ton of weight, which has started falling off (without dieting and exercise, might I add--so far) since going off the medication, so there was a toll right there, but only partially related.

What I've found must frustrating about this whole thing is that the very thing which gives me any feeling of meaning or joy in life--writing--is the same thing that frustrates and depresses me no end. When I mention how depressed my lack of readers or the apparent pointlessness of my writing gets me, people advise me to stop writing and try something else, but how exactly is one supposed to do that when writing is all they know and truly love??

You love Mackinack Island, too?

Yay!

Sometimes writing seems to take a psychological toll on me, too. After sitting down and typing madly away, I start feeling so drained...like you said, as if it were pointless.

I find it helps to get out, critique other people's writing, offer advice, help other people--especially those worse off than I am. Then I feel like I have a purpose and I see that I don't have it so badly.

And people who advise you to stop writing aren't any help at all. You know you should be a writer when you don't have to ask if you should be a writer. It's just what you do.

KikiteNeko
05-27-2008, 03:49 AM
And people who advise you to stop writing aren't any help at all. You know you should be a writer when you don't have to ask if you should be a writer. It's just what you do.

Agreed. Being a writer is a lifestyle choice.

Melenka
05-27-2008, 06:38 AM
I consider my time in the gym to be research. My MC is a big guy and it helps to see how very muscular men move. (Okay, so I admit I'm a total sucker for the group of guys who are all about the gun show...) Also, the woman who is regularly in the kickboxing ring totally rocks my world and gives me inspiration to write my heroine. I do all my observation from the treadmills overlooking the gym floor, so I don't creep anyone out. Also so I don't have to smell them. When I hit the weights, I don't look at anyone so I can pretend no one sees how pathetic I am. I figure it will eventually pay off, but mostly I go for the endorphin rush and to steal a few hours for myself.

I have the kids doing their own laundry and have finally managed to get over my anal retentive need for perfectly clean floors. Less time sweeping and mopping means more time writing, and as I write late at night, I am too bloody tired to notice the floors anyway. You'd think I'd spend my weekends writing, but I tend to spend those gardening, which for me is more like landscaping. I'm scary with bypass pruners....

mario_c
05-27-2008, 06:59 AM
I like to be active, and I don't know why I've gravitated not only to a job, but hobbies (today) that require you to sit and not move anything but your arms for hours on end. Not too smart, but luckily I am motivated by a. not wanting to drive anymore, and b. stress. Those 24 pound freeweights and my bike have stood between me and a total psychotic episode for a while.

KikiteNeko
05-27-2008, 07:28 AM
I like to be active, and I don't know why I've gravitated not only to a job, but hobbies (today) that require you to sit and not move anything but your arms for hours on end. Not too smart, but luckily I am motivated by a. not wanting to drive anymore, and b. stress. Those 24 pound freeweights and my bike have stood between me and a total psychotic episode for a while.


Haha, yep. I have a desk job too. And if I ever reach my dream of writing full time, I'll still be on my ass for most of the day. But I love to drive, and that's when I get a lot of thoughts flowing. I could walk or bike to work if I want to get killed on the highway or avoiding the highway by going two hours out of my way through some hardcore construction zones.

mario_c
05-28-2008, 06:40 AM
I could walk or bike to work if I want to get killed on the highway or avoiding the highway by going two hours out of my way through some hardcore construction zones.
It takes some getting used to, certainly. And I can't bike to a cubicle job where I have to be presentable and hygenic so I drive. The bike is strictly casual days.

KikiteNeko
05-28-2008, 07:07 AM
It takes some getting used to, certainly. And I can't bike to a cubicle job where I have to be presentable and hygenic so I drive. The bike is strictly casual days.

I used to have a bike but I think we gave it away... Anyway, around here I'd be better off walking. There's like no shoulder in the road and it's very curvy. When I see bikers, and there's a car in the oncoming lane, I have to slow down behind the biker and wait until the other lane is clear so I can pass; and if it's not safe, I have to crawl up the street because I can't get around the biker. We should put up bike lanes, but then I guess that would mean no sidewalk.