Is writing good for my health? I know it’s good for my mental health. And I’ve made it good for my spiritual health. But is it good for my physical health? It means spending a lot of solitary time being sedentary.
Or does it?
I’m in the process of proving this notion wrong, and convincing us both that there is a better way.
Some writers are runners. I’m not much of a runner, but I try to run a bit and walk a lot. I walk and tell myself the story I’m working on.* Sometimes I run home to record an epiphany before it gets away from me. At least it seemed like an epiphany when it came, landing in my mind like a lark while I’m far from paper and pen. I don’t carry my phone most of the time or I could record it that way.
By the time I do record it, the epiphany has downsized itself to just another small part of the story, or even less, a detail. But little by little, the story builds. Walking helps me build the story.
*The idea of walking and telling yourself the story is from author Sandra Scofield in an Iowa Writer’s Workshop I took last year, The Novel Launch. We used her book, The Last Draft: A Novelist’s Guide to Revision.
Also, The Scene Book: A Primer for the Fiction Writer https://www.sandrajscofield.com/works.htm
I grew up in southern California, North San Diego County, a coastal desert region. But I always loved the mountains. For that reason I don’t take for granted the lushness of the Columbia Gorge where we now live. I don’t take good health for granted either. Writing motivates me to be more active, to get out and walk, clearing my mind with fresh, oxygenated air. I don’t want writing be a reason to compromise healthy habits, making me into a hermit. Writing is one more reason to make healthy choices when it comes to being active, and eating or drinking moderately. Those choices help me show up to write each day and keep my mind as clear and focused as possible (and in case you think I haven’t struggled with weight, I was once over 200lbs.; I know the struggle is real).
I attended Bootcamp today, and sorted the struggles, desires, and obstacles facing my two main characters, but then I had an appointment, one of the few I didn’t reschedule when I booked Bootcamp; it was for a massage (earned through barter by talking about Drawing for the Health of it: https://lorilyngreenstone.com/drawing-for-the-health-of-it/).
So today was more of a self-care day, right in the middle of Bootcamp week. Writer, if we’re going to be Finishers of not just this novel or memoir, but the next one after it, and the one after that, we must take care of ourselves the best we can— small steps, the same way we finish the novel. Sometimes I can only talk myself into 10 minutes of a walk, but something is better than nothing (my mantra), whether it’s writing or walking. Poco a poco, we can get there.