I was delighted by the many replies I received to my article a while ago on Why Writing is Good for the Soul. There was enthusiastic agreement about the joy of tapping into that transcendent “zone” where the currents of creation flow.
However, although we writers can happily spend hours in “the zone,” the effect on our bodies is sometimes less than happy.
Hours spent hunched at the keyboard can take a physical toll.
My massage therapist offered this gentle advice after she’d expertly kneaded out the tension knots in my shoulders: “It’s wise to get up from your desk often and just move around.”
Better yet, get away from your desk and move. Not only will your body benefit, so will your creativity.
For example, there’s plenty of research on the good effects for body and soul of simply taking a walk. Double the benefits if it’s a walk in the woods. The Japanese have a charming name for that nature-rich experience: “forest bathing.” For me, a walk will often generate the solution to a stubborn story problem.
Yoga and Tai Chi, too, are restorative for both body and soul. I’ve been doing Tai Chi regularly for years and I always look forward to that calming hour, not just for the set of movements but also for the silence – a break from the characters nattering in my head!
In fact, it’s fascinating how much not writing can help your writing. I love this note a writer emailed me: “My wife wonders how I come up with answers to writing issues while fully engaged in other tasks like watching a football game, talking with friends, or working around the house. I’ve learned to program my subconscious to work in the background and bring me the answer when it’s ready.”
Yes, the subconscious is truly the writer’s friend.
The sweet spot we seek is a balance of body and soul. Here’s an inspiring bit of advice I once heard: “Keep your feet on the ground and your head in the stars.”
I’ll just add that when your feet are on the ground, keep ‘em moving.
All my best,