Monday, July 19, 2010

(Hopefully not a) Big, Fat, Deal...

No matter what kind of writer you may be, whether you love to make people scream, wonder “what if”, feel their hearts flutter at bodice-ripping 18th-century passion, or simply write a manual to help people set up their Blu-Ray players, everyone who sits down at a computer or with a notebook and quill has at least one thing in common:

We sit.

A lot.

You can think about your plot while you’re on the move. You can work on character description while you’re shopping. You might even have the greatest revelation in the history of your story while you’re playing softball.

But eventually, you gotta sit down and write it.

This can create a bit of a problem for some writers (and by “some writers”, I clearly mean “me”).

That problem being, of course, this: clothes that used to fit are now a bit tight. They shrunk in the dryer, obviously.

Sometimes, especially when I’m on a creative roll, I’ll sit for hours, never working off the calories from the chips or candy (or honest-to-gosh real food; I do eat more than junk, you know) that I eat.

Just to paint this fairly, I want you to know that I’m not a lazy man. I have no problem with hard physical labor when it’s called for, but exercise for its own sake? No, I’ve always been one of those “objects at rest tend to remain at rest unless acted upon by an outside force” kinda guys.

Which creates a bigger (pun not intended…well, maybe just a bit) problem. I’ve noticed that when I’m not in the best shape I could be, when I have put on a few pounds, my mind isn’t as sharp.

This is a problem because, as a writer, my mind is my most important tool. If I can’t think clearly, the writing suffers.

When I graduated high school, I was 335 pounds. I took a job unloading trucks to help pay for college, and rather quickly lost 150 pounds.

I mention this to show that I have been more than a little bit overweight, and I’ve also been in extremely good shape, with muscle tone, low body fat percentage, and lots of energy and clarity. I can speak from experience when I say that the mind is sharper when the body is fit.

Right now, I’m a little bit over my ideal weight. Not by much; I’ll never let myself get as big as I was in high school, but I do need to lose a few pounds. More accurately, I need to remind myself to get up and move.

I think it’s important for writers to remember that we need to do more than sit. Not only will we live longer lives (hopefully having a much longer writing career as well), but the quality of both life and career are so much better if mind and body work together.

Stay healthy, writers!



  1. Too true! I started walking around the track at the school near my house. I love it! I get outside, get active, and get some time to myself! All things that are greatly needed at the end of a long day.

  2. Yes. I totally blame the dryer for shrinking my clothes. It has nothing to do with all the sitting all day and eating Hostess cupcakes. No, sir.

  3. Hehe. Love it. My mind seems to always work better when I'm up and moving. I get a lot of inspiration when I'm on my elliptical. :)

  4. Ugh, this is so true, isn't it? I especially hate the turn of summer when it's time to pull all the shorts out...and they don't quite fit. I'm sure it's some reverse humidity issue, drying out my clothes as they sit through winter.

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse