Thursday, February 24, 2005

Writing is Like Exercise

Ok, this really isn't news to me, but I was thinking about it again yesterday while at the gym. Why? Because it was the first time in almost two weeks since my dh and I had taken the time to go there. As each day had passed, we'd talked vaguely about going, then ceme up with a reason not to. Even yesterday, when my hubby was getting really insistent, I was still reluctant. Felt tired and cranky and just not interested. But as he was in the driver's seat and I wasn't *grin*, I went along, chanting under my breath "I really want to do this, I really want to do this."

Sure enough, within a minute of starting the treadmill AND my mp3 player, I felt tons better. And kept going for the full 55 minutes (25 mins on treadmill, 30 on eliptical trainer).

How is this related to writing, you ask? Well, I sometimes have the same thing happen with my wip - I'll be stuck somewhere and just avoid it. Every day I think about opening the file, then find something else to do. But when I FINALLY do take the plunge and go back to it, just like with the gym, I find myself lost in the story within five minutes.

For those of us who are writers, ones who KNOW how important our writing is to us and ultimately how good it is for us, we still have a habit (at least most of the writers I know) of avoiding it from time to time. Just like exercise - that feeling of being tired and cranky yesterday, well, likely much of that came BECAUSE I'd avoided the gym for so long. Yes, I'd done a lot of walking, but there's still nothing like getting the blood really going while listening to music. I've been exercising regularly for the last 15 years (since just after my engagement) and my body is used to it. Just like my writing.

Then my mind wandered off to the musical portion of my workout. Now, you might think I'm some kinda freak for doing 55 mins of cardio. Maybe. And there's only one reason I can manage it - the music. Without my mp3 player and earphones, I'd last maybe ten minutes. Ok - probably 30, but it would be tough.

Often when I'm writing I play music as well - for company and inspiration. Just like when I'm exercising. Sometimes with the writing I do need quiet, but when I'm on a real roll, I LOVE background music that revs up my heartrate - it really helps.

So what's in my mp3 player/RealPlayer right now?

Vertigo - U2
What I Like About You - The Romantics
Ocean Pearl - 54-40
Found Out About You - The Gin Blossoms
A Little Less Conversation - Elvis Presley
Love Shack - B-52s
Rockaway - Rawlins Cross
Hungry Eyes - Eric Carmen
Call Me - Blondie
I Was Made for Lovin' You - KISS
Only Happy When it Rains - Garbage
Stray Cat Strut - Stray Cats
Rubberband Girl - Kate Bush
Home for a Rest - Spirit of the West
She Moves in Mysterious Ways - U2

Looking at the list (far from complete, but gives you an idea), I've pretty much given my age away *grin*.

I also listen to more ethereal stuff while writing - Loreena McKennitt, Enya, Kate Bush, Gregorian Chant, Clannad etc - it all depends on my mood and at what point in the manuscript I'm at.

Anyone else out there need music to write and/or exercise?



Emma Sinclair said...

Writing is like exercise? Yep, I like it, 'cause a lot of times you're still feeling it the next day.

Tess said...

Ain't that the truth! I know there are times after I've spent hours writing I definitely feel both physically and mentally exhausted the next day.