Who’d a thunk it? This old man added something new (previously believed to be impossible) to his writing routine.
Never gave it much thought. Check that. Never gave it any thought. But it just might be the most important thing I have done to help myself.
So what is it? What is that vitally important thing that many writers have overlooked? Especially, those of, shall we say, more advanced age. EXERCISE!
I write every day. Never miss. Even on holidays. Hour after hour, sitting in a chair, staring into a laptop monitor.
Headaches. Neck pain. Carpal tunnel eyestrain (if there is such a thing.) Never mind chronic butt aches.
Last fall, I decided I needed a treadmill. Did a lot of research and then I shared my expensive findings with my wife who poo-pooed my idea. Can’t afford it, at least a good one, and there’s just no good place to put “that ugly thing” in the house. Hey. 45 years of marriage. She’s always right.
One of my well-meaning sons suggested a Fitbit or a gym membership. (A) Don’t have $130 for a device that counts steps. (B) Not about to go into a public place so people with muscles and six-pack abs can point and laugh.
By Christmas, thoughts of a healthier me faded somewhere between a stuffed turkey and egg nog.
However, the idea that I dismissed continued to simmer somewhere in the recesses of my mind. Resurfaced on June 30. That’s when I flew solo to my local Wally World and bought a pair of walking shorts. Mercifully, today’s styles drop to the knee.
6:00 a.m., July 1, in hopes that all of my neighbors were still sound asleep, I ventured out for my first walk. Proudly, I survived an entire mile.
Day 2. A mile and a half.
Within a week I was up to three miles. By the fourth, four and sometimes five miles.
31 days have passed and I haven’t missed a day. Lord willing, walking is a part of my writing regimen that is here to stay.
I tell you this because, if I can do it, you can do it. In November, I’ll hit the big 69. On that day, I’ll celebrate by walking 7 miles. One mile for each decade I have been blessed to live on this great earth.
Oh, yeah. The headaches and neck pain are gone. I’ve lost weight. I wish I could report that I look significantly more handsome. But, you can’t have it all, right? More importantly, that hour and a half each morning gives me time to think about new twists and turns for my stories.
I have read just about everything imaginable about how to write and market books. Maybe I just missed it, but I can’t recall anybody mentioning the importance of physical exercise. We are by the nature of our craft, couch and chair potatoes.
So here is my writing tip for the rest of your life. EXERCISE.