Inspiration really is found when you put your feet to the ground. . .
I think I have the best job in the world. Honestly, I do. I mean, I can’t imagine anything better than getting up every day and getting to create characters and stories that I get so lost in, they become real to me. Okay, okay, this isn’t a piece on sanity, although that can always be called into question! I’ve made a career out of talking to myself.
But here’s the thing . . . each morning, I roll out of bed and go straight to my computer (well, after I’ve hit the kitchen for a cup of coffee, of course – I’m not a heathen) and start pounding out the words so I can fill the pages of whatever project I’m working on. Once I get immersed in a story, I can literally sit for hours and hours and not get up. I don’t even realize how much time has passed.
Let’s get real for a second. It’s no secret this is insanely bad for our bodies. I know it. The rest of the world knows it. And my aching body is sure not going to let me get away with ignoring it.
So, just like about everyone else on the planet, I got myself one of those fancy Fitbits, and let me tell you, the results were a sad state of affairs. It was truly eye opening to see how much I could sit in front of the computer and not move a muscle.
And when I’m on deadline? Forget it!
I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one, author or not. We sit at our desks all day long, logging and reporting (or filling pages full of sexy words!). The day passes, and boom, the only thing we feel like doing after a long day is hitting the couch with a book and a glass of wine.
When I first started writing, I would try to force myself into exercising, to try to carve out time in my hectic schedule that was already so jam-packed I could hardly see straight. At that time, I was trying to both run a business and dip my toes into the self-publishing romance world.
I could have stayed up for 24-hours straight, seven days a week, and never have completed everything I wanted to.
Something had to give. What would I cut?
The exercise of course.
But I noticed something. On the days that I did exercise, I felt better. The words flowed a little smoother. I felt . . . inspired.
I began to make the connection — on the days I worked out, I actually got more accomplished. My word count goals doubled. When I’d hit the treadmill or the outdoor trails, my music blasting in my ears and giving me all the feels, the tension and stress would suddenly fade away, and I could just allow myself to feel.
My mind would wander.
Words would come.
Stories would build.
Characters all of a sudden came alive.
We all know exercise releases endorphins — those feel-good chemicals that help to fight depression and pain. Not to mention, exercise releases adrenaline that gives us more energy and clear-headedness. And well, it’s just plain good for us, right?
But there is also something super significant when it comes to exercise — it releases serotonin and dopamine, which, yep, you guessed it, affect our creativity.
Put all those together, and you’ve whipped yourself up the perfect concoction of word-writing madness.
As soon as I began to exercise regularly, I continued to see the effects increasing. I felt more productive. My stories flowed better and more easily. My bones didn’t ache as bad from sitting in front of the computer all day.
I just felt better and my stories were benefiting from it.
I thought I couldn’t be the only one, so I decided to poll a few of my author friends and find out their experiences. I can’t say I’m shocked, but I can definitely say I’m in awe.
USA Today Bestselling Author, Lauren Rowe, said, “I will say that hour I spend in the gym every day is the most productive hour of my day from a writing perspective. I get more done from a creative and productivity standpoint BECAUSE I take that hour off to exercise every day. Almost every really good idea I’ve ever had for a book has come to me at the gym or in the shower.”
Add to that, Sierra Simone, USA Today Bestselling author, told me, “I think I see twofold benefits! One is when I’m doing something rote like walking or running, I get all sorts of ideas and scenes running through my head. When I do something more involved mentally, like karate or (don’t laugh) Jazzercize, then the benefit is I get done and realize that I’ve spent a whole hour away from the book and I can come back to it totally fresh.”
Nope, it didn’t stop there. Bestselling Author Emma Scott claims, “My Peloton is life. It boosts my mood (which I desperately need) and gives me energy. 45 minutes, every day and my brain feels cleaner and less cluttered for writing,” and Ava Harrison said, “All my best ideas come to me when I’m working out. I think it’s because of the endorphins you release when exercising. I’ll often take my phone with me into a spin class and jot down chapter ideas and quotes for my book. I swear I wrote 75 % of Through Her Eyes on a spin bike.”
Um, wow, right?
I mean, Elle Woods couldn’t be wrong.
“Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t.” — Elle Woods, Legally Blonde
Well, at least hope not in real life. I can’t make any promises in in my books. That’s an entirely different story, one I’ll be whipping that up on my next whirl on the treadmill.
So what creativity do you have bottled up, just waiting to be released in those moments of clarity? Why don’t you check out what it can do for you. Our hearts, minds and bodies deserve it.