I confess, I fall for internet click-bait all the time, especially the ones that promise easy solutions for anything that brings out that classic combination of inadequacy and guilt (exercise, anyone?). While perusing yet another article touting “easy fitness solutions,” I realized that much of this advice applies almost as well to writing—also high on my to-do list and often low on my actually-did list. So here goes, freshly cribbed from Fitness Magazine
10 Easy Ways to Find Time to Sneak In
a Workout Some Writing
1. Turn your commute into a workout: Excercise-wise, this is a handy tip only if you are in walking/biking distance from your job…. But as a writing tip, it’s right on. If you’re driving a long commute, that’s a perfect opportunity to let your mind wander around your story. I do some of my best plotting on my commute. If you’re less squeamish about hearing your own recorded voice than I am, you can record dialog and scenes as you compose them. If you take a bus or train to work, that means you can put pen to paper, too (probably a better idea than dictating into a recorder, unless you want to give your train’s designated weirdo a run for his money). Score!
2. Set your alarm early: That one pretty much works for everything: exercise, writing, housework (maybe take it easy on the vacuum cleaner). To really make this work for writing, that extra hour has got to translate to your ass, the seat, the computer–not extra time for a pre-work blowout, gourmet breakfast, or shoe shopping. The best-laid plans and all that.
3. Sneak in a lunch break workout: Yes! This one, please! Lunchtime is an excellent opportunity for a sprint.
4. Work out at work: If you can get away with it, it’s a great opportunity to write, even if it’s just notes (no spouse/pets/kids getting in the way).
5. Take the kids with you: So you’re at home, with the kiddies. All is not lost! If baby’s asleep, or Junior’s happily in Star Wars Lego Land, get on it. Take your notebook to the park, or just to the bathroom while your little guy or girl plays in the suds.
6. Multitask on the treadmill: Plotting, plotting, plotting. As long as you’re already sweating, how about working out the details of that new love scene?
7. Make it a date: I first thought this tip wouldn’t apply, since having hubby pace in and out of a room while I’m trying to write drives me batshit, but then I remembered how many times he’s been a valuable sounding board for working out plot holes or getting a sense of plausibility (and a whole lot of other opinions and suggestions, too). Sometimes an outside opinion really helps.
8. Don’t just wait in line: This tip as it’s intended will only make you look like a nut job. Lunges and squats in line at the grocery store will get you some looks. Try that in line at the DMV and you may get arrested. But again, perfect opportunity for plotting and jotting down snippets in a notebook.
9. No more “couch potato:” Turn off the damn TV, or at least mute it and sprint during commercials. Edits are somewhat TV-friendly, too.
10. Power up your stair climbs: Okay, I got nothing here. But hey, nine out of ten aren’t bad!
For us, writing is as essential to our well-being as exercise is to our health. And just like exercise, writing doesn’t just happen. Lots of times we have to force ourselves to do it, and that’s no more fun than dragging your ass out on a cold morning for a run. But not doing it feels much worse, so let’s take every opportunity we can to whip our writer selves into shape! Tell me, what are your favorite times to sneak in some writing?