When you put your “mind to muscle” you are more effectively training your body, and your mind. To know what muscle(s) you engage is much better than mindlessly jerking around some weights. And if you are using soup cans like some magazines advise, stop it! Go buy you something that says, “I’m working out. I’m awesome! I’m so gorgeous and now I’ll be strong too!” (Suggestion for beginners: stretch bands are a gentle but effective way to start a strengthening regime—they’ll work as hard as you do).
When you push, you engage your chest and triceps. When you pull, you engage your back and biceps (picking up a bag of groceries or a child? there you go). Walking up a hill, your hamstrings (the big muscle at the back of your leg) and your glutes (that’s your bee-hind, y’all!) take on the load; when you go down that hill your quadriceps (the muscle group at the top of your thigh) say Hello There! All the while, your core muscles—those important beautiful muscles in your stomach, waist, back—are holding you up, improving your posture, giving you a long confident appearance. Have you ever stopped to notice? If you are like a lot of writers (this one included), often our minds are wandering, wondering, zippity-do-dah-daying in Other-Worlds, forgetting about the one we live in.
Pay attention to your body. Take a walk and notice the feel of your leg muscles, notice the air filling your lungs, notice the way a breeze touches your face, the sounds you hear, the very you of You, the very earth of Earth. Your body is a stunning biological machine, your brain an incredible fascinating mysterious organ, so give yourSelf some respect, my friends. Sitting down to your manuscript, you will remember those sensory details and they will enrich your writing. Trust your Personal Trainer Novelist Kathryn.
When you care about your body and what you do to it and with it and what you put inside it, the world becomes sharper, clearer—you can still tap into your angst if angst is what you need to write from, but it will arrive from a position of Clear-Headed Power. You move better, sleep better (insomnia? try exercise), have better sex (a strong body and sex?: WHUPOW!) , and, yes, write better—sounds good, doesn’t it? I’m not talking about finding a mountain where you sit in lotus position and eat nuts and seeds all day. Even a few changes will bring to you surprising results—because our bodies and minds crave our devotion. We devote to our families, friends, critters (when’s the last time you walked your dog? really? that long? dang!) work or play, writing (and that is also work and play), and often neglect care of ourselves. [Read more…]