Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Fitness For Writers

We're always reading articles in magazines and newspapers about making America fit. Exercise is being pushed for each and every one of us. We're urged to run, to walk long distances, to lift weights, use machines at workout centers and make sure we take 10,000 steps every day. All to our benefit. I won't dispute that one bit.

Writers need to exercise, too. And I don't mean the physical kind state above. We can benefit from doing writing exercises on a regular basis. Call it practice..Call it motivation. Call it anything you like. It's still hard work, just like physical exercise. The one good thing is that your muscles don't ache the next day!

Writing exercises can be found in many books on the craft of writing. They can be found online by googling keywords like writing exercises or exercises for writers.

Sometimes, critique groups offer a monthly (or weekly) exercise for their members. It might be a writing prompt using a picture or setting a situation for you. It might be a challenge to use certain kinds of adjectives and adverbs in writing a paragraph about spring. It can be myriad things, but each is designed to set your writer's mind in high gear and to give you practice.

Besides the practice and thought process, writing exercises bring another benefit. They are great motivation. Once you write that initial paragraph or two to fulfill the exercise, you may very well want to expand it into a full story or article.

My friend, Molly, and I are doing a team exercise for a few weeks. We have each pledged to do a writing exercise of our own choice every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Then we send it to one another. Sometimes, when you know someone else is waiting to see it, you're more apt to stick to the schedule. We did this a year or so ago, and we both found it beneficial. It helps set a pattern and keeps the writing part of our minds active. Try this with a writer friend.

As for me, it's Wednesday and Molly has already sent me her exercise, so I'd better go get started on mine.

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