The other day, I was perusing the internet, as one is wont to do, and I came across something interesting on Julie Czerneda’s website.
Ms. Czerneda is an award-winning science fiction/fantasy author. I’ve only read one of her works, In The Company of Others, which I enjoyed, but I didn’t like it enough to read more of her Science Fiction. I am, however, looking forward to starting her new Fantasy series, Night’s Edge, later this year. The first book is out, Turn of Light, and the second, A Play of Shadow, should be released in November.
Anyway, her website is a regular stopping spot on my rounds. On that particular day, I noticed she had a writer’s advice list (or something, I can’t find it now, of course) and I skimmed through it, thinking, yeah, yeah, nothing I haven’t read before until my gaze stopped on the last tidbit of wisdom. Again, I can’t find it now, but essentially it went something like this:
“Don’t get fat and flabby.”
Okay, we all know Ms. Czerneda didn’t write anything remotely like that, but that’s what I walked away with.
As a group, we writers probably tend toward the more…let’s be nice…sedentary lifestyle.
We encourage each other to sit our butts in our chairs and stay there until we’ve finished a story – even if it takes years.
Well, I don’t know about you, but I know that I actually burn more calories sleeping than I do while at the computer typing. (Yes, I know this for a fact because I used a BodyBugg for over a year. The numbers do not lie.)
Not only that, I often find that eating sugary, fatty foods give my brain the glucose-boost it needs when I’m in the creative-thick of my stories, when the last climax is just within grasp. Without that hefty slice of cheese cream-iced carrot cake, my protagonist would never slay that dragon or smother their foes.
So, not only am I not burning any calories during the hours I write, but I increase my caloric intake.
That’s a recipe for disaster.
While many of us live to live on the page, we have to all remember that our bodies need exercise just as much as we need to write. We are not doing anyone any favors if we drop dead of a heart attack. (Not to mean, but George R. R. Martin, I’m looking at you. You must finish The Winds of Winter!)
I’m not saying we all have to march out the door and start running marathons or training for the Olympics, but a good, brisk walk (or equivalent) once a day is the least we should all do. And for many of us, much more.
But, you say, I work all day. I come home tired. After doing my chores, and carving out time away from my friends and family to write, now I’m supposed to exercise, too?
I joined the gym a few months ago, and I go to the BodyAttack and BodyCombat classes. Since it’s a set schedule, it’s something I can put on my calendar and force myself to go. It’s a good workout and I get to observe all sorts of potential characters. In addition, while my dog is looking at his 17th year, he still forces me out for a walk twice a day. I’m not running marathons anymore, but I’m doing my best to manage the excess fat I have and maintain some muscle mass.
How about you? What are you doing to keep in shape (whatever that means for your body type)? Other than health, what writer-specific benefits do you derive from physical exercise?