Many wannabe writers are pretty sedentary. We tend to watch too much television, read too much, play video games too much, and chat online too much. When we do work, we sit too much.
But over the years I’ve noticed that the most productive writers tend to have one thing in common—they exercise.
One of my students recently took up running, preparing for a marathon, and his productivity rose. Another friend practices martial arts, and he writes novel after novel of New York Times bestsellers. A third climbs mountains, and so on.
I’ve always been “sort of active,” in that I lift weights and take long walks. But over the past few months as my schedule got busy, I haven’t been hitting the gym like I normally do.
So a few weeks ago, I not only began hitting the gym for the new year, I set a goal to increase my walking speed, time, and endurance so that I got in some better cardio. My goal was quite simple: to increase my endurance so that I would feel good about writing longer.
You see, exercising has so many benefits, it’s pretty astounding. A grueling session in the gym will typically raise your heart rate and work out your muscles, but a long session also helps your brain reach the alpha state, where you easily do your most creative work. Hence, I’ve known some writers who go on long runs, for example, simply to help them brainstorm a novel.
But I found after boosting my exercise regimen that something else happened: I found that I was able to write longer, to focus on my work better. In fact, it felt that for every hour spent in the gym, I was getting an extra three or four hours of work done in the following few days.
So, my tip for today is this: if you want to write, run for it. Or take a long walk uphill, or lift some weights, or play a game of basketball. If you just work at it for 35 minutes per day, you can boost your metabolism significantly over a week. It doesn’t have to be hard work, just consistent. You only need to push yourself at a level that feels safe to you.
But the results will surprise you!