5 reasons why writers should exercise


Writers sit on their bums. A lot.

And when something gets sat on a lot, it spreads. Out. Wider. Hmmmm.

So, today’s Friday Five is 5 reasons why writers need to exercise….according to me.

And yes, I know that in order to meet a word count one must firmly plant one’s backside to a chair, but in order to keep that word count creative, that bum needs to occasionally move- even if it’s just for 30 minutes a day.

To stop the bum from getting wider

This might come as a surprise to you, but pushing words uphill actually burns no calories. Nor does thinking about exercise. True story.

To banish the blues

Many of us sit for way too long.

Much of our work is done inside.

Much of our work is done in isolation.

Throw in a deadline diet of chocolate, caffeine or alcohol, a side serve of insecurity, and double helping of rejection and it’s really no wonder that writers are prime targets for melancholy- or worse.

Besides, the longer you stare at a blank screen, the more likely you are to take a hammer to it.

Exercise lifts the spirits…and gets you out of the house…and away from the fridge. If you exercise outside or with friends, even better. It could even preserve the life of your laptop.

To strengthen the wrists

Our poor little wrists are constantly tap tap tapping at keyboards. Too much of this and repetitive strain can sneak in- and that’s not a good thing.

To maintain the word count day after day, you need to exercise the wrist. Sure there are good exercises to do- google them. I also have one of those stress ball things as well, but lifting (even light) weights helps. A lot. It’s in the grip.

To bring back the mojo

Writing is, as one Facebook friend posted today (thanks Jen), a constant struggle against silence. Do anything for too long without positive reinforcement and your mojo will run and hide.

Now, some may say that writers need to be miserable in order to mine their own angst for ideas- but I find that miserabilism (in the Book of Jo, this is a real word…) only means that you have no energy for writing, smiling, socialising or solving plot problems. And seriously, in order for others to be excited about your work, surely you need to be too?

Anyways, exercise warms the body, gets the blood flowing and the air pumping. When you’re feeling low, this is a good thing. When you’re sweating, it’s easy to forget how crappy you were feeling just an hour ago. Add some music and you have the perfect mojo GPS.

Just make sure you take something to record ideas on- insights and solutions often come when you’re moving your arse.

To provide an outcome

For most of us, it’s hard to measure a good day in the office. Is it the number of words written, pitches submitted, articles completed? Some days there are no physical achievements worth talking about.

It takes ages for money to come through, months before your by line appears, and as for feedback from publishers? Heavy sighs indeed. A daily exercise session, though, gives you at least one tangible tick in the box.

When the silence from those you send your work to is deafening, look at the achievements you’ve made in your fitness- are you lifting more, running longer, swimming further? The theory is that as the body gets stronger, so too does the mind, your resilience, and your confidence levels…as I said, it’s a theory.


Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

6 thoughts

  1. Hee hee! Love this post and it’s so true. As someone who spends WAY TOO MUCH time at her desk getting up and moving around is essential. Mind you, just leaving the desk helps me. The moment I flop onto my bed the ideas start coming. For me the benefit of exercise feels more mental (though I know the physical exertion is just as / more beneficial!).

  2. Oh, I’ve had plenty of exercise today, especially my right arm: up down up down (from plate to mouth, plate to mouth). And isn’t it funny how you wrote about productivity – I just wrote a FB status about how mine was only 10% today!!! Good God.
    AND I got a mention in this post – what a great way to see who’s actually reading the entire piece!! Ha ha!

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