Joy Held's Writer Wellness

"Be well, write well."

Wednesday Workout: I don’t have time

on March 7, 2012

 I once read in a pop icon’s autobiography that none of his work was his own. He considered himself a vessel or a conduit for some unseen, powerful creative spirit and it was his duty to deliver these songs and dances to the world for this artistic deity. What if he was right? What if there is a master puppeteer pulling on our strings and sending us the ideas? For the sake of argument, shouldn’t we be in good condition to accept these wonderful creations? Would we fail the great artist if we were full of nicotine, fat, caffeine, drugs, and booze and didn’t have room to take in the art? Yes, there are scores of unhealthy artistic people who have left their marks on society but think of how much more valuable work we might have known from them if they were in better physical shape.

Except for those who have just landed on our fair planet, the rest of us are aware of the positive benefits of physical exercise. Weight loss, muscle tone, cardiovascular conditioning, longevity, improved mood, and better sex can all be the results of regular activity such as walking, yoga, and lifting weights. Granted, I’m simplifying things because I want to get to my point: what is the point of exercising? We know about the results, but what is the point? If we are going to be artistic chalices full of great ideas and inspiration, there has to be room for all that stuff. The main point of physical exercise is to remove toxins from the inside out to improve and regulate our bodily functions. Sluggishness creates more writer’s block and missed deadlines than lack of inspiration. When our bodies are full of crap, we can’t create as well. We have to exercise to help move all the crap out of our systems literally and figuratively.

“I will tell you what I have learned myself. For me, a long five or six mile walk helps. And one must go alone and every day.”

                ~Brenda Ueland, author If You Want To Write, A Book About Art, Independence and Spirit

Let’s cut to the chase. If you exercise physically on a regular and consistent basis, your writing will show marked improvement over time and it will be ENJOYABLE. Writing is downright painful and exhausting when writers are already bogged down with sweat, free radicals, evil thoughts and whatever else is built up in the body and mind from lack of trying to wring it from their very souls. But who has the time?

“I don’t have time” is the lazy person’s excuse. And it also means they have set unrealistic expectations for exercise. These ideals are crafted to set the person up for failure. So rather than schedule yourself to run the Boston marathon in the spring, design an exercise schedule that is manageable and practical for your individual needs.  Here are three quick ideas.

  1. Keep two soft stress balls on your desk. Every hour stand up and squeeze the balls with your hands for one minute. Increase cardiovascular benefits by raising and lowering your arms as you squeeze.
  2. Get a wooden foot roller thingy and keep it on the floor under your desk. Every hour, take off your shoes and massage the bottoms of your feet with the roller.
  3. Take a walk every day. Inside on the treadmill or outside on the sidewalk. Start with five minutes and work up a thirty-minute walk several times a week.

There are five primary areas of practice to the Writer Wellness plan. Every other week I will post an idea for relaxation (Monday Meditation,) creative play (Tuesday Tickle,) fitness and exercise (Wednesday Workout,) journaling and misc. (Thursday Thought,) and nutrition (Friday Feast.)

Meanwhile, remember to look for a digital or print copy of Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity at Who Dares Wins Publishing,

And check out these great blogs for ideas to keep your writing and publishing healthy and prosperous. Bob Mayer Jenni Holbrook Kristen Lamb Inspiration for Writers, Inc. Natalie Markey Amy Shojai

Check out my new website Joy E. Held

Have you subscribed to this Writer Wellness blog yet? Get email updates when a new post is added. Click “subscribe” and leave your email. That’s it and thanks in advance!

Be well, write well.


5 responses to “Wednesday Workout: I don’t have time

  1. msspencer says:

    Too true. I was lucky enough to have a lap pool in my backyard for many years & swam every day for 6-7 months/year, plus a bike path passed my back door so I walked about 3 miles every day. Of course I hadn’t started my writing career! Now I get out every day but can only manage about 30 minutes’ walk. During that time I often work out the next scene in the WIP. Two-fer!


    • Joy Held's Writer Wellness Blog says:

      Meredith, sounds like exercise heaven. Glad to know you’re keeping up the activity wherever you are. It’s hard to pinpoint, but exercise really does make us better writers.


  2. Joanna Aislinn says:

    I’ve written several posts on this subject, Joy, and have learned many ways to get creative re: working in exercise. You talked in a recent post about variety in the routine–oh so important. Keeping those workouts short–as you said, even 1-5 minutes to start, is a fantastic way to start. (Followed by a self-delivered “Good job!” for any effort put forth rather than, “Well, I only did five minutes…”

    When compared to zero, any amount is a 100% increase. I walk almost every day, 20-25 minutes tops. 2-3 times a week, I do 10-15-minute weight workout (sometimes between my kids’ beds as I wake them for school in the AM, lol–ankle weights and small dumbbells are behind the door of my bedroom and always ready). I’ll also pop on my favorite music (or YouTube playlist of favorites) and dance for 10-15 minutes in place of the weights.

    This ‘routine’ has been working for me over three years now. I encourage people to try. Little efforts add up.


    • Joy Held's Writer Wellness Blog says:

      Joanna, have loved your exercise posts. Your ideas are solid and interesting. Keep up the great work! You’re right about a little adding up and going a long way to establishing a good habit.


      • Joanna Aislinn says:

        Thanks, Joy. I really enjoyed writing them. Had to let go the exercise this AM; just wasn’t up to it. Got in a good walk after school and just enjoyed the beautiful weather.


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