lifespan-desk.jpgI got my bicycle out for the first time this year last week when Gettysburg had three days of temps in the 70s. It’s great exercise, which is something that anyone with a sedentary work life, such as a writer needs to be concerned about. You don’t want your backside filling out to match the bottom of your desk chair.

Along those same lines, I also have a treadmill desk in my office, which I use for short periods of time, and a Garmin Vivofit. All with the goal of making me more active.

Benefits Beyond Health

Besides, the fitness part of being active, there’s a benefit to creative people as well. If I’m feeling weighed down with a lot of work, it helps dissipate some of the stress so that it feels more manageable. I find exercise helps clear my mind of a lot of the clutter, and I start to think about articles and books that I’m working on.

Now, when I’m walking, this is not a big problem. I can pull out my phone and use the recording app to dictate notes to myself or talk through a scene I’m envisioning in a book. Then when I get home I can dictate the scene onto the page.

This can become a problem when biking, though. If you think talking on a phone while driving is distracting, try doing it while biking. You may wind up in a ditch or someone’s front fender. Even if you’re willing to take the risk, it probably won’t work. I have my phone mounted on my handlebars so I can check the GPS app that I have. One time, I tried recording while I was biking. I didn’t die (obviously), but when I checked the playback later, the wind noise from me biking was louder than my voice and I could only catch about half of what I had recorded.

So I either have to hope that I remember the great idea I’m having or I have to pull over long enough to record my notes.

I tried remembering what I wrote, but … wait, I forgot what I was going to say … oh, yeah, I had forgotten parts of it by the time I got home because I had other thoughts I was trying to remember.

I don’t mind pulling over to dictate something, but this can be inconvenient if you find yourself stopping every five minutes because you’re on a roll with ideas.

That would be a nice position to be in, wouldn’t it? It can happen if you’re getting lots of blood pumping to your brain and getting those endorphins working for you.

Work is important, but don’t become so involved in it that you neglect your health. Then you will harm not only your health, but you’ll miss a lot of great ideas.

Part I