Writing is a very internal activity. You might have heard people saying they need to ‘get into the right headspace’ for their project or they need to ‘go on retreat’ to get the story right.
Sometimes when I’m writing, I get into this ‘headspace’ and I get stuck there. It seems like it should be a good thing – to get stuck in your own creative world – but it always has the opposite effect on me. The other parts of my life seem to tumble down around me until I’m exhausted, stressed and frustrated while my writing dies a slow and horrible death before my eyes.
Unfortunately, this is where I’ve been the last week and a half; wondering what happened in the first place and knowing that somehow, I was the cause. It was only this morning that I finally realised what was wrong. I haven’t been exercising.
Writing and exercising are not activities that you would usually put together but if I don’t do both everyday, I become unhinged. If I’ve been glued to my computer screen for a whole day, it means I’ve been stuck in my ‘headspace’ for a whole day and it’s a really difficult place to escape.
My mind is where I create new worlds and characters but it’s also where I overthink, criticise and second guess everything that I do. It’s as though the rest of my body doesn’t exist and I’m lost to the thoughts in my head regardless if they’re creative or destructive.
If I exercise everyday, then my mind and body are on the same team. I feel more awake, more creative and much more confident. Plot problems sort themselves out while I’m not desperately labouring over them and I stop listening to the nasty, inner-critic lurking in the back of my mind.
So if your writing has taken a swan dive, then get off the computer and do something active. It doesn’t need to be a 10km jog. You could play hide and seek with your kids, go for a lazy stroll along the waterfront or play tennis on the wii. Get active and get out of your head before you drive yourself completely crazy.