Do you exercise?

For most people exercise is akin to a dirty word. It’s a chore and something that is far from enjoyable. And let’s face it, if you’re prioritizing your day and struggling to find time to write, the last thing you feel like prioritizing is exercise. That might be a mistake…

Exercise can actually give you more energy. You’ll get more done during your time and you’ll feel happier and more motivated to get it done. I promise, if you don’t exercise right now and you start adding it to your day, you’ll begin to feel better and that translates to being a better writer both in terms of productivity and creativity.

The Benefits of Exercise as They Relate to Your Romance Novel

Many studies have been done on exercise and creativity. Last year the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience published a study that showed that regular exercisers do better on creativity tests than sedentary peers. They found that regular exercise improves divergent and convergent thinking – two components of creative thinking.

Studies have also found that exercise doesn’t just boost your creativity right after your workout but that the effects last for hours. And let’s also say that exercise improves your mood and over time can increase yoru energy. That means that you will feel happier and more calm when you sit down write and that you’ll have the energy to fit writing into your day.

And don’t be surprised if you start to have story ideas as you exercise. I have had plot challenges solved druign walks with my dog or during strenuous poses in yoga class.

The hard part is getting started and I’ve found a few keys to success.

  1. Find Something That You Enjoy.

Twnety years ago if you’d asked me if I exercised, I might have laughed out loud. I didn’t really exercise at all. Over the years that has changed. I went from walking and riding my bike (usually with a child in tow) to running, cycling and/or walking each day. Today I  CrossFit. I love love love my CrossFit gym.

I tried a lot of things that I thought I was interested in including

  • Zumba
  • Dancing
  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Rock climbing
  • Road cycling
  • Mountain Biking
  • Hiking
  • Endurance running

Those didn’t work for me, but they might work for you and they’re just some of what’s available to you. You might like yoga or dancing. There is also roller blading, swimming, boxing, and a whole list of other activities to try. Find something that you enjoy. Start by making a list of things that you know you like or that you want to try and start trying them. You could just force yourself to endure exercise but I’m a fan of fun. I think exercise should be fun.

  1. Set Manageable Goals

Decide what you can do and fit exercise into your schedule. For example, you might decide that riding your bike for thirty minutes a day is enjoyable. You might enjoy a dance class a few times a week or daily yoga. Don’t overdo it, please. Don’t decide that you can run for an hour a day if you’re just off the couch. When I first started exercising after the birth of my second child I literally exdercised for 5 minutes a day. That was it. I gradually increased it by five minutes each week until I was exercising for an hour a day.

  1. Find Your Grit

You know those days or weeks when your romance novel doesn’t seem to make progress and you have to stick it out? The same is true for exercise. You’ll find days when you just don’t want to. Do it anyway. Don’t give up.

If you don’t exercise regularly, I strongly urge you to start. Set small goals, find something that you enjoy doing, and start reaping the benefits. Your physical and emotional health will improve and your creativity will enjoy a delightful boost – it all helps you become a better writer.

Happy Writing!