Daily Archives: January 24, 2012

Shake Up Your Writing Muscles

I’m not gonna lie, I hate working out.  Yesterday I shook up my work out routine and I’m paying the price.  Instead of relying on the machines for my strength training, I did a few sets of squats that ended in a standing shoulder press with weights.  Not a big deal right?  I mean, lifting is lifting is lifting.

Not!

I can barely walk today.  My thighs burn like a forest fire on a hot July night because of this little tweak in my routine.  No pain, no gain–or so the saying goes.  And it’s true.  To build muscle, we must break it first.  Yet, working our muscles in the exact same way each and every time we hit the gym only trains our muscles to memorize the routine and work more efficiently, thereby burning fewer calories.

Sounds counterintuitive, doesn’t it?

Have I mentioned how much I hate working out?  How insane a person must be to think this is FUN?  That self-inflicted torment is so not right on many levels?

And yet, there’s a lesson in here.  If our muscles get bored with the same exact routine, doesn’t it follow that our minds would as well?  That if we only ever write in the exact same place, in the exact same way, each and every day our creativity will suffer from our over-efficiency?

Imagine how much stronger our writing could be if we were unafraid to push ourselves and try something new.  Instead of writing our slow and steady pace, what would happen if we wrote–for just one day–like we were a NaNoWriMo participant?  Or, instead of flying entirely by the seat of our hip-hugging low-riders, what would happen if we actually fleshed out some portion of our novels ahead of time?  Or, what if we wrote in the laundry room or the bathtub or in the middle of the food court in the mall?  What if we performed our day backward and ate dinner for breakfast and started writing after lunch instead of before it?

I’m not suggesting we shake up things every day, just every once in a while to give our brains a little boost.  A little infusion of otherness that challenges our writing muscles and keeps them from getting bored.

How about you?  Do you think this is beneficial, or do  you believe that adhering to a strict schedule is the most productive way to write?  What do you do to shake things up in your writing routine?  What parts of your writing routine are sacred and therefore must never be disturbed?

Curious minds want to know!