Friday, October 4th, 2013

Writing Prompt: Exercise and Creativity

Image of a runner's feet:  Copyright: Warren Goldswain I just got a new treadmill, ostensibly to shed a few pounds gained during my two foot surgeries in the last year. I prefer running outdoors, but with winter coming, the treadmill is the best bet to get back on track during the darker winter months here.

A few of my writer friends have turned their treadmills into writing desks, citing all the health benefits of obliterating a sedentary lifestyle. Not wanting to be left out, I’m giving it a try.

The Husband of Awesome™ and I made a trip to one of those lumber superstores and purchased a plank, some eye bolts and bungee cords. In less than an hour, I had a fairly decent makeshift desk on the arms of a treadmill. A ‘breakfast in bed’ lap desk (never used, alas!) and a cardboard riser on top the plank have lifted the keyboard, monitor and mouse to the appropriate level.

It’s fairly comfortable, and I spent an hour on the treadmill Wednesday, after my workout, to read email and work on my WIP (walking uphill at 1.7 miles an hour).

I got a lot of work done!

And it prompted me to do some research on the correlation between exercise and creativity. There’s plenty of research to be found, such as this paper on exercise and creativity by doctors David M. Blanchette, Stephen P. Ramocki, John N. O’del and Michael S. Casey.

They found that, “aerobic exercise may positively impact creative potential, and that these effects may extend for some period of time,” and “results suggest that orthodox aerobic workouts have potential benefits in aiding creativity processes, [and that exercise] potentially provides tangible improvements to creative productivity.”

So, exercise may not only help the creative process in individuals, but it may improve it!

Here’s Your Prompt:

  1. Go do some aerobic exercise! Take a run, walk briskly, jump rope, etc. for a half an hour. (Standard disclaimer here: please check with your doctor to make certain you’re fit before starting any exercise program!)
  2. Pull out a creative project that’s been giving you some trouble: a poem where you can’t find the right words, a story you’re blocked on, an art project you just can’t envision, etc. …and give it another try. Or…
  3. Start a project you’ve been meaning to get to, but has seemed daunting in the past. (Perhaps the exercise will help you think more clearly about how to proceed…) Or…
  4. Spend some time on your WIP. Do you have a better idea of how to proceed? A more clear idea of where to incorporate plot points or messages or meter? Perhaps you’ve thought of a new idea to add to the work.

Good Luck!

Image, “Runner’s Feet,” Copyright: Warren Goldswain. Used by permission.