Exercise as a Writerly Thing

It is unsustainable, the forever writing. Fanny in chair, write till you drop – advice we were all given in our first year of literary apprenticeship. You must maintain your body or there will be no art. I’ve learned that the hard way. The fingers are tingling, the back stings hot under my scapula, there’s a wire shorting out.

Starting the day with stretching or cardio is not avoiding writing, it is a writerly thing, so long as it is distraction free. That means no emails on the bike, avoiding the CNBC reports of the crashing Euro, not taking the newspaper to the orbital. Peaceful spiritual yoga like exercise. Even though your day is not bolloxed up yet with other’s ideas and demands, even though you do not need, yet, the peace and quiet, keep the just-up-from-bed freshness through your exercise, then use it for a day of drafting.

Beware. Exercise can be an end unto itself. If you become the yoga lady, traveling no where without your himalayan woven mat bag, enmeshed in the ever expanding web of your  spirituality, or the gym jerk, pressing out that last 300 pound bench rep, reaching for your maxed out Russian pyramid training peak, you are down the path of procrastination and distraction. Pull back. You are exercising for your writing, not exercising for your development.

Protect against the seduction of Apollo by doing writerly things during exercise. Think through writing problems, open yourself up to sub-conscious solutions, have a conversation with your characters. Make exercise a writerly act and you will be better  protected against losing yourself to one more set, or losing your art to an addled body.

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