Monday, March 15, 2010

Sore Muscles

After allowing too many days go by without hitting the gym, my muscles let me know they didn't appreciate the exercise. Even my super comfortable mattress failed to soothe the aches and pains.

Our writing muscles also need regular exercise. When I skip more than a day and then go back to my work in progress, I find my brain operates like a computer lacking sufficient memory. It's slow going, folks.

When life hits, I find it helpful to mull over elements of my story to keep the writing muscles from getting flabby. How do you keep your writing muscles in shape when you can't get time to write?

30 comments:

Lily Robinson said...

Daydreaming... I'm always thinking about my WIP. While reading, running errands, whatever... I'm always thinking, "Hey, I could do that with..." I think the writing muscles stayed a little toned just by thinking creatively.

Terri Tiffany said...

I had to really flex mine yesterday and it was hard at first but they got stronger as I went.

patti said...

FABULOUS analogy!!!
I do best when I daily exercise body and brain!

Have burned midnight oil and dawn sun to complete the "new" ending of "Rhythm of Secrets" and have flabbed up a bit. Will hit the road today. Thanks for the encouragement!!!

Blessings, Susan.
Patti

Jan Cline said...

You know, I think that reading works my brain muscle. I have read more in the last two years that in my entire life! Blogging helps me get in a few toning exercises here and there, but the long marathon sessions are hard to come by these days. I need a new commitment to working out!!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Lily -

Great method! I try to keep my mind engaged and not go on auto pilot when doing simple tasks.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Terri -

The writing muscles loosen up when we stretch them and get back into the groove.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jan -

Reading and blogging also help me to stay sharp. I try to read non-fiction, as well as fiction.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Patti -

All of you give such great comments. It gets the brain cells firing. :)

Thanks for the stimulating conversation.

Blessings,
Susan

kristen said...

I agree with Lily. Daydreaming about my characters is the best way to keep them fresh in my mind. Sometimes, I even need to daydreaming break to work out a problem. So while I'm actually hittin' the keys, I am "writing" in a way.
Thanks for the great post, Susan!:)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Kristen -

Yes, turning over a problem in our heads can help get our characters out of trouble (or into it). Mulling over the "what if" question always jumpstarts the ol' gray matter.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I try to keep my mind busy and focused on writing by doing a little blogging, even when I can't really WRITE. :-)

Love the analogy and the picture!

Sharon Ball said...

Susan, you sure are on the money with this post. It's so hard to pick back up after an extended absence. I find if I continue thinking about my story, and thinking about the last few scenes that I wrote then it's easier to pick back up when I'm ready.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Shannon -

I know what you mean. I find blogging fun and relaxing. It's more like visiting with friends than working toward publication. I'm not obsessing over storylines or characters. :)

Blessings,
Susan

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Sharon -

Thinking of the last scene I wrote also helps me to "pick up the thread." I then try to think of the next scene and what characters I want in them.

Thanks for your input. :)

Blessings,
Susan

Emily Ann Benedict said...

Even if I can't contribute to my story for the day, I try to at least write something. Sometimes even writing a letter can keep our writing muscles working.
Actually, I find reading can also help. Good books inspire me to keep reworking my ms.

Warren Baldwin said...

I like the thought of flexing our writing muscles. I notice the same thing - when I skip writing for a few days inertia sets in. Good post.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Warren -

Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

When my late husband was in the hospital, the doctor encouraged him to walk around the ward. When a patient stays in bed, they lose 10% of their strength each day.

If you don't use it, you lose it. The same goes for the writing muscles.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Emily Ann -

Yes, I also believe blogging and reading will help keep the writing muscles toned. However, just as the body uses different muscles for different tasks, producing a novel requires a different skill set.

Great conversation here today! You've given me ideas for new posts. :)

Blessings,
Susan

quietspirit said...

Susan:
Lately, I've been journaling. A friend gave several of us blank book journals. There are Bible verses at the bottom of each page. I either interpret them or write how they apply to my life or to the conditions I see around us.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Quiet Spirit -

Journaling during my devotional time has birthed all kinds of writing ideas. I hope you find it a joyful activity.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Karen Lange said...

When I can't write, I think, and then scribble notes here and them on little scraps of paper...
Have a happy week!

Jody Hedlund said...

That's so true, Susan. When I take a day or two away from my WIP I find it takes me longer to get my writing muscles moving once I start writing again. But I just push myself through the pain, and usually the wheels get moving again.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jody -

I was in the groove today. Too bad, I had so many interruptions. Unfortunately, I couldn't ignore them. How the moms out there manage is amazing!

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Karen -

I scribble on little pieces of paper whether I'm stuck or not. At this point, I need to do another serious desk cleaning. LOL!

Blessings,
Susan :)

Nancy said...

That reminds me that I need to start exercising.

I keep my writing going with my blog. I just wrote a speech. I'm so glad I could do that. I think my writing muscles are better than my body ones. But spring is here.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Nancy -

LOL! Both my writing muscles and physical muscles need a better workout.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan Panzica - EternityCafe said...

Susan,
GREAT illustration! I feel the need to tone both my writing and my physical muscles! And I love your comment about the different muscles (blogging vs. novel) that need to be exercised just like differing physical muscles. Thanks for this motivating post!
Susan

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Susan -

I'm glad the post had a positive impact. It's a perfect example of how the turned around something not so good (sore muscles) for everyone's benefit. :)

Blessings,
Susan

Becky Lange said...

I like the analogy! I do not exercise my "writing muscles" as frequently as I need to :(.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Becky -

Thanks. I think most of us could use a "writing personal trainer." :)

Blessings,
Susan