So I talked last week about a little thing you can do in order to keep your mood up and get the writing flowing. Dancing is always good for that. It’s low space-needing, and pretty much everyone has either an mp3 player or access to Youtube. (Or some other way of getting music. Not knocking all you vinyl enthusiasts out there.)
But what about when you want something more than just jiving around your room? What about if you’ve been in the same room/office/den for the past six days and you just need to do something, anything else?
Here’s an answer–and it’s not something you’d ever expect to hear me say.
Get out and exercise.
Stop. Hold the presses. I know what you’re all thinking.
“But Rion, what do you mean exercise? I’m in great shape!” or “No way am I getting out and running just to help with my writing. Do you see this pudge? I’ve worked hard on this pudge.” or “Oh gods, no, not exercising anything but exercise I’ll die it’s a billion degrees outside/billion degrees below zero outside.”
I know. Trust me, I know. If you follow my other blogs, you’ll know that I’ve been on a weight-loss journey for several years now, and it doesn’t usually go very well. But this is something that I need to take into consideration as well, which is part of why I’m writing this blog now.
Exercise releases endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. (There’s a movie quote here and I really just don’t know it.) When we’re happy, we’re more likely to want to do something. We get energized and it’s suddenly the Best Feeling. Sure, we’re sore and sweaty and feeling a bit like we’ll never walk again, but who knew it felt this good to die?
Now, there’s an argument to be made that there are many great writers that wrote almost exclusively while depressed/stoned/drunk. And this is very true. However, we are not the greats, and we cannot expect to just pick ourselves up and place us in the same patterns they do. Stephen King walks for miles every day as part of his routine. Laurell K. Hamilton does cardio and is looking at getting back into MMA. M.C.A. Hogarth often will go on walks (and sometimes dance!) to get the depressive vibes to flee.
Because if my readers are at all like me, it means that when you’re down and depressed, the last thing you want to do is focus on anything. You want to sit and stare at Tumblr, or mindlessly play with online games that don’t require you to think too hard. And for a while, that’s fine. But you still need to be writing, and that’s the part I don’t do nearly often enough.
Personally, I’ve just found an app for my phone ($1.99 on the Google Play market) called Zombies, Run!. It’s essentially a way of getting you to do interval running, but with an infinitely more fun mechanism than an automated voice just telling you when to run and when you can walk again. You have a town you’re working with, a radio controller staying with your on headset, supplies to pick up, people to save…and oh yeah, the hordes of zombies to avoid. You’ll know when they’re getting close, because Sam (the adorable radio operator) will let you know that he sees zombies. Then it’s just a matter of waiting until the alert sounds: “WARNING: ZOMBIES 100 METERS.” Then you run, and run as fast as you can. It’ll only last for about a minute, but if you can keep up the pace, you’ll avoid the zombies and not lose any of the items you’ve collected for the town. (On my first run, I got chased 4 times and only escaped once. Oops?)
DISCLAIMER: Especially if you’re in a warm area, like I am for the moment, please be careful. Bring water, take breaks, be smart about your surroundings. I made the mistake of not carrying any water with me and went on a 4 mile run (just over an hour) in 80+ degree weather with minimal shade. By the time I stumbled home, I nearly puked and fainted. This is decidedly not advisable. Be hydrated. The app will let you pause if you need to rest. Don’t risk yourself just for a workout.
Even without the app, just find some songs you really like. Alternate them in a playlist between upbeat songs and more mellow ones. Stick them on your mp3 player or your phone or something, and go out. Jog for the fast ones, walk for the slow. Can’t jog for the whole song? Don’t. Just jog as much as you can. It’s all about getting out and keeping active. Your body will thank you, and so will your writing.
Now, since it’s started raining on me while I wrote this, maybe I’ll do some fiction writing of my own… 😉
What’s your favorite way to keep active outside of the house? Share in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you.