Thursday, June 17, 2010

Get off that chair!

I'm all for BICHOK (Butt In Chair, Hands On Keyboard). Discipline is a must, but I'll save writing discipline for another post. Today I'd like to talk about balancing BICHOK with GYBM. Notice the subliminal message, gym, in there? I mentioned, in the past, how much I hate working out at a gym. It's too public. However, there's no excuse not to GYBM. It stands for Get Your Butt Moving.

The writing profession enjoys a great deal of down time - as in sitting down, not resting. It's so important for writers to get up and move, yet so easy for us to forget. Writing a book is hard work. It's engrossing, and we can easily get lost in the task. For those with families or daytime professions, scheduling writing time is hard enough. Excercise, unfortunately, gets put on the bookshelf, or on our TBD (To Be Done) pile. I had the extraordinary opportunity to attend the Nora Roberts chat session at last year's RWA meeting, and even she stressed the importance of excercise. If the Nora Roberts, who is incredibly prolific and busy, can squeeze excercise into her routine (and she does), then we all should at least make the effort.

I'm not going to recite the medical benefits of excercise. We've all heard how it revs your metabolism, increases bone density, lowers blood pressure, reduces stress, fights heart disease...oops. Sorry. I said I wasn't going to recite, there's more, but go ahead and google or grab a copy of Prevention Magazine and flip through it. Movement gets your blood flowing, and it'll probably help get your story ideas flowing too.

I'm really lecturing myself here. I'm terrible at sticking to a workout schedule. It's really embarassing considering that, years ago, I earned a black belt in karate and even taught it. I wouldn't consider myself fit at the moment, but I'm hell bent on getting there again. All in the privacy of my home. What I need to do is start a routine. Whether I excercise AM or PM, before or after writing, for 15 min or 30, it doesn't long as that routine is maintained. I think the key is in making sure it's doable. If I say I'm going to do an hour when I know I don't have the time, my plan will fall through. I'll be sunk before I sail. Every little bit counts. The benefits will add up. The same philosophy applies to writing. You may not have time to get 2000 words in a day, but if you can promise a steady 200 or 500 or whatever, it'll add up. You'll reach your goal.

This summer, get your BICHOK, but GYBM too! My equipment? A treadmill, excercise ball, excercise band, hand held weights, ankle weights, the staircase (actual stairs in the house), a yoga/pilates video, and my garden. I actually made use of the treadmill today! Excercise bands are awesome because they're so versatile and light (easily packed in a suitcase). The same goes for yoga/pilates take your body wherever you go :). What do you do to work excercise into your writing routine? What's your favorite at-home equipment?


  1. I didn't know you were a black belt and taught karate!! That's awesome! Yeah, well, exercise. For me, I have an exercise bike. It's actually right by my office. It stares at me, it dares me. Does it work? Sometimes. I often think I'm too busy to exercise but you're right. Writers especially need to make sure we're moving and exercising the body along with our minds.

  2. I take spin classes twice a week and I run twice a week too. But if I don't run, I do a homework out on the TV with hand weights. I feel I do have more energy to write when I get done (and I'm showered) :)

  3. Kaily - It has been about 15 yrs since I've really practiced it. I ranked in two different, traditional Japanese styles, but I couldn't find a class (or the time) when I moved to go to Optometry school. Follow that with marriage, kids and more's supposed to be a way of life, but unfortunately it fell out of mine. I may go back to it. I do think about it a lot and I've tried teaching my kids at home. No one listens to mom though :)

    Jennifer - I've never tried spinning. I used to cycle a in a road bike out on a road. Sadly, I haven't done that in years either. I definitely do feel the energy go up after a workout. It clears my head.