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You been writing that same book for the last seven years – I’m just trying to help you get that project out, sis

Get Un-Stuck

Writing+Fitness

When I moved to a new city in 2012 for my graduate creative writing program, I found myself mostly stuck at my computer in my office or in a coffee shop downtown trying to finish projects, grading, and proposals before deadlines came crashing at me. I would be sitting for hours, binging tea and coffee and blueberry muffins to get me through. When I wasn’t out in public working, I was curled on my couch with my laptop or a book working overtime to be a successful writer and academic. 
 
In 2013, a classmate suggested that we hire a personal trainer to help us be “fine” literature scholar scholars – admittedly, I was not really into it at first because I did not care to exercise as much as I cared to teach and examine poems. He convinced me, though, and I was up at six am sometimes with him doing jump squats and lunges at our university rec center. Eventually, I hired my own personal trainer and started taking group fitness classes. I learned so much about my body – mainly how out of shape I was and how much my mobility and strength had suffered from not moving my body consistently since throwing in my jazz shoes for a pen at the beginning of undergrad. With the help of a trainer and constant movement, I began to feel like a strong dancer again. I learned exercises to build muscle and I developed a habit of movement that has kept my body and my writing in flow. 
 
The hours I spent at the computer before working out were not always productive or fruitful, and they caused me a lot of back and neck pain. When I made the decision to continue working out, I developed better posture and noticed less tension in my body. I also began to write and produce more. I really do thank my daily movement for my writing flow, and the strength and endurance to submit work for publication, to acquire fellowships, and to cultivate my ideas toward new projects. Exercise has become a part of my creative process and daily routine and has made me a more consistent writer. You might catch me at the gym with a notebook – not always recording my progress but jotting down ideas for essays and lines for possible poems. And you might catch me getting in a couple lunges and squats while writing at my standing desk.

 

Strength training and body building continue to assist me in many ways as a writer. I write and read about difficult subjects often – as much as writing and reading (and therapy) help me process trauma and thoughts, training has helped me work through challenges including writer’s block and the death of my stepfather. Training has truly given me space to cope and to clear my head before I conquer tasks and projects. Today I feel like a stronger and more persistent writer. I walk into the gym ready to push my body through a good workout. I walk out ready to take my writing to new and imaginative levels.