Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Physical Movement and the Re-invigoration of my WIP

So, a couple of weeks ago, I posted about my goals for this year, as many others have done. I didn't write about any plans to get in shape, although that is also one of my aims, and having made a start, it's made a marked impact on my writing.

I came back after the Christmas break with the intention of finishing up the first draft of my WIP, started in NaNo 2012. But things weren't really happening. I didn't have the energy for it I had before. Admittedly I hadn't done a lot over the holiday - I went to visit my parents, which involved a lot of... eating, and at home there was quite a lot of eating too. Especially chocolate.

This week I was determined to start in on my exercise goal. My relationship with it has been sporadic over the years - an initial burst of activity, which after a while fizzles out. For example, as a teenager, I used to get up at 6am to run round the park, before doing my paper round and going to school. Sometimes I had a paper round after school, too. But the running probably only lasted about six months. I think I burnt myself out.

This year I'm planning to make working out a regular part of my life. It's started with walking my daughter to and from nursery, instead of taking the van. A simple change, but so far, it's worked wonders! That little walk has allowed me to clear my head, letting me focus on what needs done in my work. So after I get back from dropping her off, I feel ready to go. I'm still not entirely sure how it will all end, but I'm enthused about the challenge again, instead of it being the onerous task it was before. And my productivity has definitely increased.

Along with doing the abswing in the evening, I'm planning to make this my regular exercise. And it's totally free of charge!

Have you made any fitness goals this year? How are you doing with them? Do you find that exercise helps your writing?


Kyra Lennon said...

I plan to start on my fitness goals soon - I just needed to get rid of all the Christmas chocolate first LOL!

I do pretty well using Wii games as exercise. However, I now have a PS3 and plan to use that instead! I already have Just Dance 4, which has a workout section and no doubt I will add to the collection soon. It's pretty much the only way of exercising that doesn't bore me senseless!

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I do find that activity, even just a little, gives me more energy, and I'm able to focus better on my work. Getting outside is good for that, too.

Good luck with your goal!

Michelle Wallace said...

Good luck with your goals, Nick!
I love dancing, and it's also a good form of exercise... a win-win situation!

DRC said...

Exercise works wonders when writing. Just look at Stephen King! He used to ensure he took an hour walk everyday - before being hit by a car and nearly killed. Not sure what he's doing now...but it proves a little exercise is needed. I have good intentions of starting a regime up but whether I'll actually get that far is another thing. Lord knows I could do with it :)

DL Hammons said...

I find that there is a direct correlation between the quality of my writing...and my level of activity. The creative juices flow easier when we excercise all of the gunk out of our system! :)

Luanne G. Smith said...

I'm a walker. I try to do a couple of miles most days. It's the perfect exercise for a writer. I can often work out a plot problem or dialogue issue while I'm walking, and later I don't feel so guilty about sitting for hours in front of the computer. :)

And I'm still in chocolate detox after Christmas! I so overdid it this year.

JeffO said...

I have not, but I should. On the other hand, I've found that my newish job that involves me spending vast amounts of time driving around has caused me to lose a few pounds, because I just don't have time to eat. Or maybe it's the times when I have to get out of the car and slog through knee-deep snow that does it....

Unknown said...

Integrating exercise into your normal routine is just the ticket Nick. Only way to keep with it.

Suze said...

'I went to visit my parents, which involved a lot of... eating, and at home there was quite a lot of eating too.'

I totally heard the pause. I've never actually heard your voice before but when I read that, I felt like I almost could. :)

Yes! Exercise -- or movement, anyway -- is hugely, hugely important to being able to keep mentally fit for the demanding process of writing. This year for me will be the sunshine, breathing and stretching year, which means walking and yoga.

Best of luck with your regimen, Nick -- and happy 2013!

kjmckendry said...

That's great, it helps you and your daughter get exercise and it's great time together.

I've been getting back into exercise slowly after I tore my ankle tendons.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Exercise really does make a difference.
I've gone to the gym several times a week for years. Just made it routine. That's kept the weight off.

nutschell said...

That's a great goal! Writers definitely need to think about the physical effects of sitting too long. I plan to move more often this year as well:)


Nick Wilford said...

Kyra - We do have a Wii, but shamefully I haven't used it for a while! Think the remote's broken!

My wife and kids love Just Dance. Me, not so much!

Madeline - Absolutely! I think it gets the old grey matter jiggling about as well as, er, other bits. Thanks!

Michelle - Yep, like Kyra said - exercise should be fun!

DRC - Lol, well I'll make sure to stay away from any country roads! Good luck with the regime!

Don - Well said! It sharpens you up.

Luanne - Yep, walking is great. It also gives us time to observe and often see something that sparks a new idea.

Jeff - Well, congrats on the job! Yeah, walking in snow can be demanding. We're meant to be getting hit with it this weekend.

E.J. - Agreed! That's what I'm trying to accomplish.

Suze - I'll take some of that sunshine off your hands if you don't mind! Sounds like you have got a good plan for this year, good luck.

Kathy - Yeah, it is great for both of us. I take her swimming, too. Good to hear you're on the mend!

Alex - I'm not really a gym person - but glad it works for you!

Nutschell - Yep, don't want writer's butt. Good luck with your exercise plans!

Elise Fallson said...

Regular exercise has become a part of my life. I run about an hour 3 times a week with an added 1 hour at the dojo. It was hard at first and there were and will be down times. What helps is having someone you can count on to help motivate you when you're not feeling up to it. Sometimes the hardest part is lacing up the sneakers, especially when it's cold outside. Good luck with your exercise schedule, it really is important, for your health and state of mind. If you can get the whole family motivated that's even better. (:

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

Hi Nick! Good for you. I really want to start walking, it is just kind of hard to find a good spot around here (snowy/icy, busy rural road). Hey, I just got an idea of where we could go to walk, not very far away.

Glad you are excited about working on your writing project again. Thanks so much for stopping by to say hi!

Kathy M.

S.P. Bowers said...

I've found that exercise improves every aspect of life. The healthier you are the quicker your mind, the more energetic you feel, the better everything works.

Julie Dao said...

I always make fitness goals and rarely follow through with them for long :/ It helps me to have a reason for the exercise. For example I'm going to be in a wedding this year, so that's my reason for pushing myself to go to the gym and do more strength training. I hope it keeps up! Exercise really does help you feel great and improve your mental function so it should be good news for our writing. Good luck!

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

It's amazing how wonderful walking is. I love walking.

Samantha May said...

I love exercising! It's my favorite form of therapy :)

The key is to not see it as just a resolution, but as a lifestyle change.

Best of luck!

Trisha said...

For me with exercise, the key is to work it into my pre-existing schedule, as you've done with the walk. I walk to my car after work, and it's a 20 minute walk. That's the majority of my exercise for the week, though I do fit in a body balance class one night a week, and try to at least do a little moving around on the weekend too ;)

Good on you for changing your routine! It does make a person feel so much more infused with energy than being a blob (which I am good at too hehe).

Nicole said...

Exercise definitely helps my writing, but it's tricky to find the time. I'm excited to start my latest routine.

Morgan said...

I always feel better when I exercise... the tricky part is, when I get in the writer's zone, I don't even want to give 20 minutes to the treadmill--I want to keep the words flowing!

Anonymous said...

For a few years I ran or walked every day, but my sinuses got the best of me and I ended up having to quit. I'm hoping to get back into at least walking a couple miles a day. I miss it!

Heather R. Holden said...

Good luck with your fitness goal! Simple changes always seem to be the best in the beginning--it's too easy to become overwhelmed otherwise--so it sounds like you're off to a good start so far!

Melissa said...

I'm not good about sticking to exercise plans. I start out with a bang, but then fizzle out. I'm even worse since becoming a writer. I know I need to do something, but making myself get up and do it is another thing. LOL

Good for you, though. Walking with your daughter is a great idea. I'm sure it's something she'll remember with fondness when she's older. :)

Ellie Garratt said...

Fitness is so important for a writer, I think. Like you, I was ultra fit in my mid-teens. I sailed every weekend and belonged to a running club. Then as with most people, it all fizzled out. I decided 2013 would be the time to change, after putting on a stone in weight last year (chocolate!). Step one, is eating a healthier diet. Seventeen days and counting, and I do feel much healthier for it. Step two will be swimming. I've no excuse - I can see the pool from my bedroom window.

Good luck with your goals. You can do it!

Cherie Reich said...

Good luck with your goals!

I haven't made a fitness goal yet really, although I am trying to eat a bit better.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Nick - good for you ... and I'm sure you'll keep it up - though the snow may put the kaibosh on it for a while ... but Spring and lovely fresh walks will be around soon ...

Me too - I need to do this ... cheers Hilary

Sherry Ellis said...

Exercise really help to get the flow of blood going and clear the brain! Good job with adding exercise to your life!

Romance Reader said...

Good luck with your goals Nick! And walking to the preschool is a fab idea as it gives you time to teach your child road saftey as well.

Nick Wilford said...

Elise - Yeah, I guess the motivation is my wee one because it's good for her too! I agree, it's more fun to do it with others.

Kathy - Glad to help! Walking is great thinking time for a writer. However, we're supposed to get walloped with snow tomorrow!

Sara - Yeah, I agree. I never thought I needed physical exercise to help my mental processes - maybe I just need it more as I get older!

Julie - It's good to work towards something. I'm sure you'll look great at the wedding!

Lynda - Definitely!

Samantha - Yeah, it should be a regular part of life, not something to take up for a couple of weeks in January!

Trisha - Yes, it's good to work it in to what you already do, especially with limited time.

Nicole - Good luck with the routine!

Morgan - Lol, I know. You should do the treadmill first and get all fired up! Something about repetitive movement does get the brain working.

Nick Wilford said...

C.B. - Sorry to hear that. I hope you're able to get back to it!

Heather - Thanks! Yep, it's one thing at a time - hopefully I will build up.

Melissa - Yeah, I can stagnate very easily too. But my wife isn't into chubby - so that is a good motivation too!! Yes, the walking is great bonding time.

Ellie - Glad you're doing well with your goals. I wouldn't say I was ultra fit in my teens, though!

Cherie - Thanks! With food, we're trying to do simple things like eat proper white meat, not processed stuff.

Hilary - Thanks! The snow is meant to hit tonight. As for spring, we can get it in April too - but the kids love it!

Sherry - That's what I was trying to say - get blood flowing to the brain! Thanks.

Nas - Thanks! Yes, that's a good benefit too.

Stina said...

I can't survive without exercising 5 x a week. That's when I brainstorm my stories. The other day I finally came up with a title for my WIP while working out. :D

Golden Eagle said...

I started dancing twice a week back in 2012, but I want to exercise more this year, too. All the recent snow outside isn't helping--I'm trying not to turn that into a handy excuse!

Gina Gao said...

I try to run at least 3 miles each day. But, I'm trying to increase the number to maybe 4 miles a day.

Francene Stanley said...

Some of the oldies or disabed need to work out other ways of staying fit, bodywise. For the mind, I wake up energised to write. It's easy to follow something already written. However, when faced with a new topic for a daily blog, I search the news headlines. Resulting ideas spring to mind. The thing to do is make a start and then you can improve on what you've written. Best wishes for your writing.

Cynthia said...

For me, outdoor activities that involve movement keep my mental and physical stamina up. Good luck with your NaNo story--I too didn't finish the whole WIP during November even though I made the word count goal. Returning to the story after the holidays was like seeing an old friend, and finding you have to sit down a few times with this person to be truly reacquainted again.

Nick Wilford said...

Stina - Lol, I have a terrible time coming up with titles. Maybe this will help!

Golden - Good luck with your goals this year! Think of walking in snow as an extra intensive workout. :)

Gina - That's impressive! Good luck with your goal this year!

Francene - Yep, it's all about getting words down and then you can revise them. The exercise helps with getting those ideas sorted out in my head.

Cynthia - Good luck with finishing your story too. I like the idea of getting to know an acquaintance again (I wouldn't necessarily say "friend" - it can be a tricky relationship!)

Rachna Chhabria said...

Hi Nick, I have always been a fitness freak. Now I have even decided to stick to a healthy diet. Lets hope I manage that.

Glad that you have started your fitness plans. When I go for walks it helps me organize my writing and start thinking about the story flow.

Nick Wilford said...

Rachna - Good luck with the diet. I'm sure you'll do well. Yeah, I love the walks for thinking time. Rhythm helps!