This post is inspired by the great and vulgar Chuck Wendig. I’ve seen him say on more than one occasion how being healthy is crucial to being a better writer. In fact, he recently posted 25 writer resolutions for 2013, and this was #15:
They say the body is a temple; mine is probably a back alley pawn shop. (“Want to buy a cassette player and an off-brand Samurai sword?”) Just the same, I shouldn’t be savaging the architecture of my flesh with gross indolence and needless diet. The mind and the body are inextricably linked — it’s time to stop dragging down the mind with the negligence of the body.
This got me thinking about my own personal habits, not as a writer, but as a person. I used to be a very athletic person. I ran cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track. It’s safe to say I know how to run. After high school I didn’t (and still don’t) have the motivation to run. I run on rare occasions at the gym, or on a particularly nice day, but that’s it. About two or so years after that I moved in with my current roommate, who is also very into fitness. He showed me the experience of P90X. Now that is a workout. Hour long, intense weight training videos. Man, I was getting in good shape fast. I was always very spindly and scrawny all the way up until this point. So it was good to put on a little muscle mass.
I felt good, albeit a little burned out. At one point (when I did try to get back into running) my schedule looked like: work 4:00 p.m. to midnight, workout from midnight to 1:00 a.m., go to bed, wake up at 5:30 a.m., go for a 20 minute run, go to class. It was exhausting, and I gave up on the running part after about two weeks.
However, when I got a promotion at my last job, my time was sucked away. I was working early morning day shifts, which became exhausting. Working out slipped down on my list of priorities, and while I’m not in terrible shape, I’m not in as good of shape as I could be, or used to be.
So, what is the point of telling you all of this? A healthy body is a health mind. And, seeing how I use my mind and my body to write, I’d like for both of those things to remain in top form. So, I’ve been trying to start working out every day. Or at least every other day. Something I think will help a lot is I’m going to get some healthy snacks only to be consumed while writing. I find that when I get stuck with writer’s block or I’m having a rough writing day I get up and scrounge through the cupboards. And of course I grab the first bag of potato chips I find. Not anymore!
So just remember a healthy body = a healthy mind. Plus, a healthy body also means being alive longer. And, personally, I rather enjoy being alive. I’d like to do it a little longer, and I’d like to have the mental and physical conditioning to be able to live and write for a long time.