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In The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron writes:

“Most blocked creatives are cerebral beings. We think of all the things we want to do but can’t. Early in recovery, we next think of all the things we want to do but don’t. In order to effect a real recovery, we need to move out of the head and into a body of work. To do this, we must first of all move into the body.”

I follow the exercise routine from the Body for Life, with some adaptations. I work out six days a week, alternating weight training with swimming. Although I’ve found it harder to keep to the eating program (I just love food too much) and it hasn’t given me a Victoria’s Secret supermodel figure (ditto on loving food too much!) I’ve found it’s been helping my writing in ways I didn’t expect:

    • It reminds me to feel the satisfaction of small accomplishments, the laps swum in the morning, the pages written later in the day.
    • Since lifting weights, I’m less prone to back strain from sitting at the computer.
    • Endorphins that fight the mild to moderate depression I feel from time to time.
    • Better sleep equates to better writing in the morning.
    • Rhythmic exercise soothes worries, frees up creative paths in the mind.


Another excerpt from THE ARTIST’S WAY could easily describe me.

“Every day, as she swims the aquamarine oblong of her neighborhood pool, her mind dives deep into itself, past the weeds and clutter of its everyday concerns—what editor is late with a check, why the typist persists in making so many errors—and down to a quiet green pool of inspiration. That rhythmic, repetitive action transfers the locus of the brain’s energies from the logic to the artist hemisphere. It is there that inspiration bubbles up untrammeled by the constraints of logic.”

At the risk of sounding preachy, please go out and find some exercise to do if you aren’t already. Swim, walk, run, bike, whatever works for you. It really does help!


So how was everyone’s Valentine’s Day?? I ran into one of the usual V-Day perils–having to wait 2 hours for a table even with a reservation! Luckily I had some cute new pink ankle-strap shoes and lots of good people-watching (plus a protein bar in my purse!) so all went well.

And I have to send out thanks to Michelle Willingham for sending me this link to Cataromance’s Reviewer’s Choice Awards, which named To Catch a Rogue one of their favorites of the year. Happy Valentine’s Day to me!

And in weather news here–the snow is finally GONE (for now, anyway), and the temp is in the 60s and 70s this week. But for a couple of weeks I was pretty much stuck in the house, and for a few days I basically sat around eating potato chips, taking naps, and reading stuff I downloaded to my Kindle. Then I started to feel pretty yucky, and I realized it was because I had missed my exercise. I’ve always been allergic to anything that feels like “exercise”–maybe it’s flashbacks to the hell that was middle school PE class. I will run on the treadmill when I have to, or even take a spin class if I’m feeling especially ambitious, but I prefer things that feel more like fun, like dance. And I absolutely swear by yoga. When I make it to class at least 3 times a week, I feel calmer, more energetic, and more creative, and my jeans fit better. It also helps me avoid the dreaded Writer’s Butt Syndrome.

Writing is an entirely sedentary job. When I’m close to a deadline, my muscles start to ache, I feel tired, I eat bad stuff, and I start talking to my cats like they know what I’m saying. (I also start shopping online more). Yoga and dance helps me stay flexible and alert–the fees ought to be tax deductible, because they’re a big key to feeling creative and keeping me from falling behind on my schedule. I just have to make myself do it, which is usually easier said than done.

But then there are days when I can’t make it out, and that’s when I break out the exercise DVDs. Here are a few I like:

The Bollywood Dance Workout (so much fun!)

Ballet Conditioning

Yoga Conditioning for Weight Loss

The New York City Ballet Workout (this one is kind of a toughie, but it’s a great workout)

Getting enough sleep, eating right, and meditating are also important for me if I want to stay healthy and get the writing done, especially this time of year when I just want some sunshine, darn it!

What do you do to keep the creativity flowing and stay in shape?? Any tips for fun things to try? (A friend of mine swears by Zumba, which I have yet to try…) And what did you do for Valentine’s Day?

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