The Writer’s Workout

It is almost noon on Thursday afternoon and I am in the midst of my writer’s workout. That consists of sets of curls, military presses and other assorted exercises. In a few moments I’ll head downstairs to hit the treadmill and then shower.

That follows two hours of basketball last night where my body humbled the ego and reminded us that we aren’t 25 anymore.  I have said and written it a million times but this aging thing is hard for me. I don’t have to have the exact body or metabolism that I used to have but I demand something better. I demand that the body work with me to make it happen which is part of why I have instituted The Writer’s Workout.

I am on deadline and have stuff that needs to get done but my brain has slipped into neutral. The physical nature of this workout is intended to help fight the clock and let my mind rest. I need to shut it down for a short while so that I can hit the ground running harder than before. I keep hammering away on this story because it has to be written but the characters aren’t speaking to me right now.

That is not because of writer’s block because I see the words and the scenes but something isn’t clicking so it is off to other things. When the voices inside my head (no, I am not crazy) grow silent it is always a sign to step back for a few.

So I stand in front of the mirror in nothing but my underwear (not going to get locked out this time) and face the brutal truth. This body is telling me that part of the reason why it won’t cooperate is because it needs more than occasional maintenance. The calendar on my desk reminds me that I really am in my forties and that it is past time to work harder on developing new habits.

I want to compete in the Ironman when I turn 50. I want my son to do it with me. So I start pushing harder now to make the changes in habit and diet. I take the good things that I have been doing and use them as small victories to build upon. I change my workout slightly to accommodate some changes and then I hit the ground running again. The Taurus inside doesn’t believe in using doors, he wants to go through the obstacles in his path. Patience isn’t his virtue, but he needs to make it his.

That Ironman is going to make one hell of a story but the best part are the stories to come before that. The best part is savoring the journey that we call life. I remind the children each day that I love them, tell them that they are important. Each week I make a point to give them their special blessing, whether we are together or apart. They need to remember and understand that I carry those I love most wherever I go.

It doesn’t matter whether we speak or not. Those I love most are with me always.

The Writer’s Workout doesn’t allow for more time than it has taken to write these words. Twelve minutes is all I have. It is time to hit the treadmill. Time to shake off more rust. Time to run, but trust me I will be back soon. Gear up my friends because the words will soon be flowing fast and furiously from my fingertips. There is much joy to be had and much to be shared.

What do you think?

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  1. Jens P. Berget January 8, 2012 at 3:12 am

    Hi Jack,

    While writing my first novel, I’ve been thinking that I need to get in better shape as well, and that if I do, my mind will also get in a better shape. I have started to jog, but I’m still terrible at working out, so I’ve stopped. I believe that I need to make it a routine, so every day at a specific time, I’ll jog, no matter what happens.

    Is that what you do, or is exercise something you do without thinking much about it? I’m always finding excuses not to exercise 🙂

    • Jack January 8, 2012 at 2:37 pm

      Hi Jens,

      I exercise daily. I don’t spend as much time working out as I would like to, but I rarely miss a day.

      It always makes me feel better and helps me to clear my head.

      My biggest challenge is my diet. It is lousy, but I am working on it. I know what you mean about finding excuses not to exercise, I battle some of them too.

      • Jens P. Berget January 8, 2012 at 10:11 pm

        Do you do different types of exercises, or do you do the same types every day. I’m running, that’s what I enjoy doing, but I’m thinking that even though it probably helps to clear my head, it’s probably not such a good thing to keep running every single day.

        • Jack January 8, 2012 at 11:22 pm

          I walk on the treadmill, play basketball and lift weights.

          I only play ball 2-3 times a week but I do everything else daily.

          If your body can handle the pounding and it helps you think I see nothing wrong with running daily.

  2. Bill Dorman January 7, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    Ok, a little housekeeping item first; let’s have a show of hands if you think Jack is crazy or not? I don’t buy into these self-diagnosis things.

    My gig was a marathon at 40. I am such a poor swimmer I would really have to work on that part to consider a triathlon.

    I just started playing singles tennis about 6 months ago. I really enjoy it, but I do feel it the next morning. Basketball is long done; 3 knee surgeries told me I needed to find another sport.

    Crazy week, playing catch-up now. Good to see you.

    • Jack January 7, 2012 at 10:51 pm


      Am I allowed to raise my hand too? Of course I am crazy and happily so. 🙂

      I was a swimmer in high school so I am confident that I can get myself in shape for that portion of a triathlon. It is the running that worries me.

      Basketball is one of my true loves and I keep my fingers crossed that I won’t have to give it up any time soon.

      Hope your weekend is good.

  3. Mark Harai January 5, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    I can already see the improvement Jack – now get back to work!


  4. Adrienne January 5, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    I have no doubt you’ll shake it off, get that brain to working so the words start flowing and you are off and running once again. One of the reasons I could never be a writer and make money. When I want the words to flow they never do. When I could care less, they come like crazy. Wonder why that always happens to me. 🙂 Hope the workout was good.

    • Jack January 5, 2012 at 11:59 pm

      Hi Adrienne,

      A lot of it comes down to practice. It is like so many other skills. If you work at it you can make significant improvements.

      I find that the more I write the easier it becomes.

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