This post is inspired by my current status for two reasons. The first being the break I’m taking from Project Stripes (a friend is reading it now). The second being the crash course I got in knowing when to be careful with my weight training routine and its frequency.
I got sick many months ago after working out several weeks in succession without a significant (more than two days) rest period for which my body needed to recharge. As we fitness enthusiasts know, the real muscle building doesn’t happen until the tissue is allowed to mend after its tearing and with proper feeding. I, being too into the workout schedule and not so much the nutrition and wellness in mind, therefore, fell sick and was out for two weeks. I felt terrible, useless. My body would not comply with what my mind desperately wanted: to exercise. Not only because I wanted to keep up with the progress, but the daily trips to the gym let me forget.
As much as writing envelops every bit of my being, I too need a break from time to time. That’s where training comes in. I have shared this common thought with many of my friends, who lift as well: lifting is the only time of day where I think of nothing else that’s going on outside the gym. Both writing and training eliminate all other concerns for the time being. But I couldn’t give my body what it wanted, and my writing, consequently, suffered. I became distracted without the ability to exert some of the energy I get after a good writing session. I couldn’t escape even from myself.
Upon reflection, I realized I needed to be nicer to my body. Yes it is fantastic to push and be the best version of myself, but I also need to learn how and when to scale back and give my body the rest it needs. If I don’t, I can’t avoid being weakened and vulnerable. So yes, there is such a thing as working out too much.
Just as related is the healthy habit of stepping back from a story you’ve been obsessing over and maybe taking a look at another one. If you’ve been working on one story for an elongated amount of time, you most likely will get sick of it, and, just like when I got sick, your writing will suffer. With Project Stripes in back seat now, I am entertaining other stories that need attention. However, I’m not obligated to stick to any one story for too long, just make a few notes and draft excerpts before moving on. This method of story-hopping will keep my mind fresh and imagination active, exactly like when it’s not good to work the same muscle group too frequently for too long. The body will become accustomed to that routine, and your body nor your story will benefit. (I’m not saying switch stories every week. Certainly not. But spread it out a bit, so you don’t get sick of what you’re writing.)
So you, as well as I, should take a second to enjoy the progress we’ve made for our bodies as well as our writing projects. It’ll be a nice little ego boost, god knows we need it as much as we can as writers, and a way of seeing how far we’ve come. I’m always in favor of keeping a close regard to the past in order to promote a more productive future. That’s why I got a minor in History. It’s good to have that knowledge, so you can try as best you can to avoid the mistakes of not only your own past but the pasts of others who share your passions. It is also why I frequently watch interviews of my favorite authors. Getting an idea of what tripped them up or got them going is good indication for me whether or not I’m on the right path or need to change things up and see if I can get myself out of a writer’s block. Therefore, it’s a good idea to be mindful of your body and personal history. Listening to both will surely yield positive results for the future as we all seek to stay fit and get published.