Time to flex my opinions of why I LOVE being a writer and weight lifter. Artists and athletes should NOT be singled into one or the other. I don’t know where I’d be writing wise without exercise. To give some perspective, I’ll tell you about how I used to be when I was younger:
In my elementary school years, I could hardly sit still long enough to read or practice writing assignments. I remember my parents forcing me with a arbitrary wag of the finger to read (out loud) whatever it was I had for homework. And my grades reflected my efficiency thereof… That struggle to do homework and concentrate transitioned somewhat into middle school. My grades improved, and slowly I grew out of the condition. Additionally, in eighth grade (2006-7) I had my epiphany that writing was the best way for me translate my galactic imagination into the world. Sure other art forms may have worked just as well, but the word and page was what fit me best. Now I had a purpose to get better at reading and writing; it was for my future vocation, how I was going to go about expressing myself.
Today, after all that misery and strife (barely making it into middle school I might add) I am a senior at university, preparing to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in English: Creative Writing.
During my late teens, I realized that the longer I went without exercise, the longer it took me to concentrate on my school work. Back then I was a swimmer. I did not comprehend it at the time; however, I understand now my deep need to get out and wring my body of all the pent up energy that builds after a time, a result of my previous ADD or just natural antsy-ness. When I came to uni, I knew I wanted to try weight lifting. Turns out, it transformed me body and mind. I found new confidence not only with my appearance but also with my writing. Feeling better about myself allowed me to muster more spirit to fight the inner critic with more vigour. The two now work hand in hand: I can exert my energy at the gym, so when I’m ready to write, my body is relaxed and mind refreshed from the brief vacation, quietly working in the background to give me new ideas; my imagination can understand more about the kinds of pain and conflicts my characters are put through because I put them on myself under weights.
They perfectly balance both my physical and mental needs.
Here’s the thing. This all sounds like I’ve figured everything out. In some ways I have. You should know by now that nothing is as it seems or is perfect. Sometimes I come to the bench or laptop feeling like I’m not up to scratch, like I haven’t gone as far as I thought. After a few reps or lines written or edited, I find my groove again as in skiing, and I’m in business.
I hope you can learn something from my experience. I know my ways and opinions will change probably when I’m published and a little bigger. It’s going to be intriguing to read this four years from now. My last thing I’m going to say is feel free to work out if you’re a writer. There’s no shame in it. And don’t make excuses for either exercise or writing. Some days you’ll feel like not writing, and that can be natural. You do need breaks. But when you’ve rejuvenated, come back to work and make yourself the best you can be. There’s no worst enemy in the world than yourself.