Writers' Workout


Shutterstock_82313836Today's issue of Shelf Awareness for Readers included a mini-essay by famous zany journalist A.J. Jacobs, who has tried, and writen about, every outlandish life experiment, from trying to be a Mensa-level braniac to following George Washington's 110 Good Conduct rules. This time, A.J. typed away on his  manuscript while walking on a treadmill, claiming

"At first, I thought treadmill writing would be distracting. But it's actually easy (and believe me, I am far from coordinated). It's also strangely energizing: walking raises your brain's serotonin level, which helps with focus."

A.J. got us to thinking. Writing isn't exactly the most active of pursuits, but surely there are more ways to burn calories while hitting our daily word goals. We came up with a few ideas for mixing fitness into your writing regimen. Plenty of options here for techies and traditionalists hoping for a swimsuit-ready body...and maybe even a finished manuscript or two!

 Protagonist Push-Ups Every time you type your main character's name, drop to the ground beside your desk and do a push-up. 

WikiYoga Fact-checking dates for your historical novel? Reading up on the background of the Put your laptop on the ground and research in the downward-facing-dog position. For expert writers, stand on your head (all that blood flow will improve your memory for details).

Revision Reps If you still edit the old-fashioned way, red pen to paper, tie a 3-pound hand weight to the end of your Pilot Precise V-7. You'll feel the burn in your biceps and triceps with each sentence you strike through. Soon you'll see strong, uncluttered paragraphs, as well as well-developed upper arms.

Endurance Proofing More interested in tone than bulk? Print out your manuscript on really, really heavy paper stock, and pay careful attention to form while you turn each page. Breathe in, breathe out, semicolon in, comma out.

Query Zumba Right before you hit "Send" on your email to that agent you're eager to work with, put on some Latin music and sashay around for about 90 seconds. Then give your query letter a final read-through. You'll be confident and energized for whatever comes next, whether rejection or response.

Let us know if you give any of these a try, or if you have any more ideas for adding workouts to writing. Dictionary Detox? Master Criminal Crunches? Plot Twist Pilates?  Don't forget to hydrate and hyphenate, and get your sense of humor checked before beginning any new fitness routine.

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