Saturday, August 14, 2021

Working Out and Writing: The Obvious Revelation


Scott D. Parker

Today, my wife and I turn twenty-two and we have reached that stage in a marriage when we get joint gifts. 

My wife is an accomplished jewelry artist (her website) so from the jump, store-bought jewelry was off the table, a thing that's both more a blessing than a curse since she can dream up anything she wants and just make it. Moreover, we are blessed with my full-time day job so we really lack for nothing. 

So we opted for a joint gift this year: a rowing machine. It's a svelte little ditty that sits adjacent to our entertainment armoire in the TV room. It folds up with not in use, and there is room right in front of it for me to put my Chromebook in easy viewing range so I can follow along with the YouTube workouts I'm following.

For me this week, I've been doing my rowing exercises first thing in the morning. I wake, put on the workout clothes, and hop on the machine. Having never really worked out on a rowing machine before, this is Week 1 so I'm doing one of those beginner workouts. It's challenging enough to leave a thin sheet of sweat on me as I fold it back up and head on over to the kitchen table and bring up the latest novel-in-progress. With hot coffee next to me, I start writing.

And boy what a surprise I got this week.

Those ten minutes on the rowing machine not only woke me up way better than coffee, but it did so by getting my heart pumping and the blood flowing. Look, I know that's obvious, but before this week, I've never done a workout and a writing session back-to-back. It's an eye-opener.

With my body fully awake and ready for more--I'll be doing a longer workout next week after I get used to the technique of rowing--the only outlet I have is the imagination of writing. And the creativity pours into me and onto the screen.

As the anecdotal evidence was revealed to me this week, I remembered one of the DVD extras on season 1 of Castle. Stephen J. Cannell took actor Nathan Fillion through what a normal day for Cannell the Writer is like. A key part of his daily routine is working out. 

I pump iron and do push-ups and pull-ups everyday, but it's the cardio workout right before a writing session that really enlightened me. I rarely need any outside prompt to sit at the keyboard and create stories, but I certainly have a new process I'm excited to keep trying. I can also imagine that day when the story isn't flowing as seamlessly as it should that I jump on the rowing machine and let the body do the heavy lifting and get the blood flowing while the brain rests. I suspect it'll clear the cobwebs pretty darn well.

How about you? Do you combine a workout and writing session?

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