Welcome to my self-indulgent location for the stories (good and bad) that I can't prevent myself from writing. All comments and criticisms welcome. I post on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Full-Body Writing Workout

First, remember that there's still PLENTY of time to sign up for the HONE YOUR SKILLS Blogfest, hosted by myself and Charity. It's a chance to try your hand at a short story, get feedback from fellow writer-bloggers, and encouragement to try and publish it. We'd love to have you, so just click the link above or on the sidebar to join.

Okay, as for the rest of this, hang in there until the end. I promise this relates to writing.

Over-Indulgence and Reining It In
Over winter break, my husband and I went to his parents' house in Arizona for three weeks. This is always a great trip, full of shopping adventures with my sister-in-law, seeing my niece perform in Ballet Arizona's annual run of the Nutcracker, talking about music with my nephew and politics with my mother-in-law—AND eating too much food. Because, really, what are the holidays about if not food and family, right?

Well, too much indulgence led to my gaining close to ten pounds. I attribute it to the fudge. It was good, and plentiful. And dangerous.

So I've spent the last eight weeks trying to work it off. The regiment has included going to the gym four times a week for cardio. My gym partner's not too interested in weight machines, and I followed her lead. After four weeks, I hadn't lost any weight. Not even a tenth of a pound.

The blini that I didn't eat... yum...
Photo by Adam Julian
Frustrated, I took on other challenges for myself. Muscle toning work and yoga on non-cardio days. Portion reduction. Taking the stairs at school instead of the elevator. Eating more vegetables. Not eating the beautiful blini at last night's Maslenitsa celebration in my department.

Since I've made some of these changes, I've started seeing results. The pounds have slowly but surely been slipping away. Yesterday the middle number finally decided to drop down by one. It was a happy day.

And This Connects to Writing... How?
Yeah, I know. You're not super interested in reading about exercise, at least not from me. So how does this relate to writing?

First, skillful writing takes endurance. You can't do it every once in a while and expect to have an amazing novel or short story. Daily practice (or close to it), and regularly pushing yourself a little further. I don't mean in terms of time, but maybe in genre, or vocabulary, or imitating the style of one of your favorite authors (for yourself as an exercise).

Second, just working on the novel is not enough (the novel in my scenario is the cardio). You have to do other exercises to tone your writing muscles. Check out some online writing prompts and write some flash fiction (try here, for example). Try your hand at poetry. Write something beyond your novel (or normal area) for a few hours per week. Not only does it help you train your mind in terms of style and structure, it gives your mind some time to rest and think about the other work, and you'll be more refreshed when you return to it.

Finally, you have to nourish your writing. READ. Yeah, we all know this, right? Don't be a writer with a reading disorder! It's not just good for your writing. It's good for the soul.

And at the end, your novel will have Laura Croft arms...

Oh, wait a sec... That's not right.

Want to develop your writing in a different way?

Join us for the HONE YOUR SKILLS Blogfest. Try your hand at writing something different, and get feedback from the community. There are still a couple of weeks left, so you have plenty of time.

Have a great weekend, folks!


T C Mckee said...

Oh girl, I so feel ya. I gained about ten pounds over the holidays too. I'm not doing them next year. I'm hiding in the closest through Christmas. Swear. I've been treadmillin it like there's no tomorrow but since I hit the big 35, those pounds seem more stubborn than they used to be. Stupid cheesecake.

But you're right about the writing part. It does take a lot of work and reading is so essential. Its the only way to ensure that you're connected to your genre and eventually your audience.

I'd love to have Laura Croft arms. Sonotfair!!!

Al said...

Hi Rosie,
I've got an award for you at my blog.
Publish or Perish

alexia said...

Ha, my problem is I focus so much on my writing, I don't have time to exercise physically!! I am trying to find a balance with that.

The blogfest sounds fun, but that week is too nuts for me! I am hosting my own and going to a writing conference. Next time!

Carol Riggs said...

Great comparison, Rosie! Yeah, I may be too lopsided in my writing (and maybe in my exercising/butt-in-chair swapping--too much of the latter and not enough exercising). But I'm working on the physical exercise. Also in a period of reading. Which I will probably do tonight, yay!

DEZMOND said...

ten pounds during holidays? Wow, that's a record breaker :)) You really did enjoy your trip this year :)

HowLynnTime said...

Wait the holidays are over? If your trees still up can we still count it - Lol. yeah i know i gotta get back to it....sigh

I don't have any cloths that are fitting - grin

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