The problem with the phrase exercise for authors is simple. It is confusing. Do I mean physical exercise such as stretches, do I mean mental exercises such as meditation, or do I mean writing exercise such as prompts? To simplify it, I mean all of the above.
Physical exercise is a growing concern for me as time just doesn’t seem to have mercy for me as I age. I could once sit down and type for hours on end. I could lose complete track of how long I had been at the keyboard. Now, I feel it when I sit down and start typing a few lines. I have invested in the naturally speaking software that allows me to get through some writing without the physical strain, but I am still best with my hands.
Some tips for physical exercise besides the things doctors always tell us to do: walk, stretch, etc., may include the use of a prop or two. A tennis ball is a great item to have on hand to roll under a foot, or to roll an arm along on the desktop. I also like the inflatable ball that I can stretch my back on. Plus it reminds me that I could still do a back-bend like when I was a child, but without the ball, I don’t. I did see they make a chair frame for that particular item, but I haven’t used it so I can’t say if it is better than the desk chair I am currently in. I do know the desk chair I am currently in is not one I plan to be in next year. It sucks. Finally, I try to get up every 50-90 minutes and take a 10-20 minute break. On good days that is when I do the stretches, walks, yadayadayada. On most days I use that time to let the dogs out, snack, and daydream of all the things I will never actually make on Pinterest.
Mental exercise such as meditation is something I struggle with, but I do believe it is good for me and when I can get into the pattern of both yoga and meditation, my life runs much more smoothly than when I am not making that practice a priority. I am a much nicer person when I am focused on being positive and peaceful. Since my day job consists of teaching multiple college freshman English courses, I can get evil easier than I would like to admit. Seriously, one class actually estimated my seat at the desk and where my head would be and then drew horns and a tail for me on the board behind it. I’m sure I still have that picture somewhere. I’m the monster until they get a good grade three semesters later and realize they needed all that work. Mental exercise I obviously need is an outlet for the many roles I play in my life and others.
Writing exercises, such as the one I am doing now, are important. At least in my humble opinion, we have to find ways to work on our craft as authors that are not about the next plot. If I only write and focus on romance novels, then specific sub-genres within that, I will never know what else is out there that I may be good at. I try to write in a variety of genres because I have to write for myself, and that means seeking a challenge and improvement. It means finding new ways to express myself. This blog is a major challenge for me which is why it is so neglected. It isn’t fiction. It is non-fiction and that means exposing myself in a more private way than if I posted nudie pics (which I will not be posting). It means being brave and baring my actual thoughts to the reader stumbling upon this post. Which leads me to question: what is this blog all about anyway?
I’ve come up with an answer. It is about me, of course, you, possibly, and us, maybe. I’m looking to add structure to this blog, a purpose (other than just my digital footprint and inexpensive web-site option). Stay tuned to see what theme I come up with. Feel free to weigh in on what you feel is missing in the realm of author blogs and maybe that will help me give it a little more life.