Exercise to release your creativity

cyclingI know there are many reasons why, as a writer, you should exercise. At the top of the list is the myriad of health benefits you receive when you exercise regularly. This is particularly important for a writer because our work is such a sedentary activity. You need the activity to keep from growing too wide for your desk chair.

My favorite forms of exercise are bicycling and walking for 1-2 hours 3-5 times a week. I have found that the exercise clears out my head of a lot of the clutter and jumble, worry over projects I’ve got to do, marketing I’ve got to do, and things like that. In clearing that out, it allows me to hear my muse and unleash my creativity. I’ve believed that for a long time, but it became very clear to me yesterday.

I have a short story I need to write. It’s an original story I need to write on deadline because it will be published as a serial. Even though, I had a 1-2 sentence idea about the story; I didn’t know where it would go.

Over the weekend, I had come up with an opening chapter. It works really well, but it is still in a draft form. I was scared to turn it in because as part of a serial; I didn’t know what happens in the rest of the story. I didn’t know how the story would end. I definitely didn’t know how to fill in the middle so it would take up at least six installments. I was feeling a little panicked because I’d been the one who pitched the publisher this idea.

I had a long story I wanted to run because it would give me time to evaluate whether the newspaper’s readers liked serial fiction. My goal was that while that story was running for six months, I would come up with a more localized story for the newspaper’s audience. While the publisher went for the serial idea, she wanted to have it localized right away. I came up with three rough ideas for stories (during another exercise session), and I pitched those ideas to the publisher. She shot down two of them so I agreed to write the third story, which was the weakest of the three ideas.

I was walking yesterday morning and had my phone with me as I always do because it has my fitness tracker on it. It also has a voice recorder. I dictated into the voice recorder as I was walking. Over the course of a few miles, the story fell into place as I outlined, talked about characters, and spoke conversations.

I’ll transcribe the notes I recorded this week and sort them out into a coherent outline. However, it’s enough to know that by the end of my walk, my story was outlined. Yes, I still need to write it, make sure I have chapter breaks at the right points, and edit it, but that is technical details. The heart of the story is worked. Also, I can now edit the opening chapter with the knowledge of what will be coming. This will allow me to do any foreshadowing or adjust anything is needed to fit with how the story will unfold.

Most of all, I am excited about the story and not scared. It is a great story that I can’t wait to write.

So, yes, exercise to release your creativity!

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