Recognizing tht your body is your temple and caring for it accordingly is a key element of the discipline that is called for in writing. The Japanese recognized this: The word “samurai” is a combination of the Chinese characters for “person” and “temple”.
You may be scratching your head at this point and saying to yourself: “What has fitness got to do with writing?” I tell you that your brain is going to function better if it is properly nourished and oxygenated. After a couple of hours of writing I like to take a break, go cycling on Wii Fit, go for a walk, or do some gardening chores to get the blood flowing again. I then return to my keyboard charged up and ready for action. I get some of my best writing ideas during my daily walks or while swinging a bo around in the back yard.
It also has to do with the discipline of writing. Self care is an essential part of mastering yourself. If you can discipline yourself to engage in a regular workout routine, you can discipline yourself to do writing on a regular schedule.
And if you’re planning to write about warriors who charge into battle or cops who fight crime, keeping yourself fit like they would gives you a better insight into the characters that you’re creating. I find that if I’m trying to work out a sword fighting scene it works best if I pick up my bokken (bok(u), “wood”, and ken, “sword”), go outside, and run through the fighting moves myself. That picture at the right end of the header at the top of this blog is me practicing a from with my Torqueblades (www.torqueblade.com).
Those of you out there that are fantasy writers ought to realize that warriors alwasy spend a great deal of time caring for their weapons and armor, since it is their weapons and armor that they must rely on in battle. Writers must rely on their body. In fact it probably helps to think of your body as a weapon: Mind and spirit are your magickal weapons in writing that control that keyboard. Thus your body deserves every bit as much attention as a sword or armor. The better shape that you are in, the more effective your writing will be. And unlike swords and armor, which you can manufacture, refurbish, or replace, your body is the only body you’ve got.
I was at fantasy writer Arthur Slade’s “Fantastically Speaking” workshop at the Surrey International Writer’s Conference last weekend. Arthur revealed that he writes while walking on a treadmill, and told us that Diana Gabaldon does something similar. They actually make treadmill desks (which are admittedly expensive), but Arthur made one from a Canadian Tire treadmill, a simple desk, and a wall mounted computer screen. Both of them are successful authors (you’ll find links to their sites on the sidebar). You can also get cycling devices to put under your desk. Start with brief periods of exercise and slowly build it up. I personally like to take my exercise as a break from writing, but however you chose to do it, do it!