I have often heard it said that the brain is a muscle, and that it should be exercised regularly. I know it’s not technically a muscle, but there’s truth to the adage. The less you utilize your creativity, the less creative you become. The less you utilize your rationality, the less rational you become.
For writers, this tidbit of information is vital. Long stints of not writing can make your pieces suffer when (and if) you return. Just like a marathon runner is going to feel exhausted at running just a few miles if they haven’t run for a while.
We all know it’s important to keep exercising those writing muscles. But a lot of us don’t know how to exercise them properly.
When it comes to exercise on and off the page, I am no stranger. In 2011, I became very acquainted with physical exercise, and I quickly learned that every body (like every mind) is different. Some people found amazing results in exercise types that just weren’t right for me. Some of the exercise I was doing was weird or outright dangerous for others. (Think: marathon runners don’t usually powerlift and powerlifters don’t usually run marathons.)
Exercising the creative brain is the exact same thing.
But, there’s a very key, important similarity between all of us that exercise, no matter the muscle: warming up.
If you know you should treat your writing like exercise, then look at all the whole process of exercise. It’s important to start with a good warm-up. In physical exercise, it prepares the body for the rigors of high-intensity training. Again, the same is true for writing.
For me, I like to do different warm-ups depending on what I write. But I always make sure I’m warming up the right “muscles”. Just as you wouldn’t stretch only your legs before a benchpress session, so you should warm-up your writing muscles when you’re writing, or your editing muscles when you edit.
Whatever it is you’re doing, make sure the warm-up fits with your process. Most importantly, make sure you’re warming up. It will save you the pain of “injury” (i.e.: sloppy writing that needs a ton of revision).
Here’s what I recommend: have fun with it.
If I know I’m going into writing a particular scene with specific characters, I’ll warm up by writing a few paragraphs in the POV character’s voice. That sort of loosens the creative muscles I’ll be flexing when I write the meaty stuff (and it sometimes give me a little seasoning to sprinkle into the real scene).
Just a thought. Try it out, and let me know how it works for you!
Do you warm up? If so, how? I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment or send a message!
As always, I love you all!
Ronin warmed up today by waxing political on his personal social media accounts. It didn’t go well, and he doesn’t recommend it. To check out his writing, which totally does go well, visit him on: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, WordPress. Check out his YouTube for a new video every Friday!
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