Grouchy, Sedentary Writers

First, I will open with an apology that I have only been dropping a post into this space bi-weekly at best. I know infrequent posting is a good way to kill an audience, but like the bulk of the US right now, I'm in a drought. If my writing life were a front lawn, you'd better not throw your partially-extinguished cigarette butt on it, because everything would go up in an instant inferno.

Its not that I haven't been writing. I've actually been writing quite a bit--just different stuff than usual. Happily, my day job now has me working on blog posts and press releases, which gives me permission to write about a strange combination of geeky band stuff, movie sound tracks, and self-publishing. But as for fiction, that world has been a wasteland for me, to the point where I have been wondering if the project I have going needs to hit the shelf for a few months, since every time I open the file, I write about seven hundred words and grind to a halt. The irony of that is the fact that I know where the story I'm writing need to end up. I just can't seem to find the bridge that crosses the chasm between where I am and where I need to land.

So, needless to say, this makes me a little grouchy when it comes to my evening writing time. Couple that with my incessant bad habit of comparing myself to other authors, and it's a good way to make for a lot of grumping and grousing.

The one thing I am loathe to admit: getting some exercise is actually very helpful to my mood. Understand, I have never been even remotely athletic. I have been a horseback rider and driver in my past, and yes, you can work up a sweat in marching band, but I have not been even remotely what you would call "in shape" since I started having kids twelve years ago. In an effort to nip the inevitable deterioration I'm goading by being a slug, I've begun biking with my oldest son  (well, actually, he was running and I was following him on my bike, until today when we both biked.)

And you know what? The days I get out, I don't spend my morning feeling like I could glare a hole in the wall. The effect last about forty-eight hours, as far as I can tell.

So is it any wonder when you read about prolific writers' lives that so many of them are fraught with stories of depression and personal tragedy? We spend all of our free mental time trying to think up the most gut-wrenching, no-win situations we can, and then we subject people we love (OK, fake people we made up) to those tortuous circumstances. We slouch in front of a keyboard living on caffeine and Snickers bars. We sacrifice sleep and decent food and real social interaction to the call of the novel. Getting winded on stairs is sort of a natural outgrowth of these behaviors, don't you think?

And so, despite my general distaste for discomfort and my historic struggle to find a form of physical activity I can do more than a couple times without hating it, I have joined the ranks of a few other sensible writers out there to get moving. I don't foresee myself every becoming a fitness nut, but for the sake of the people in my path each day who don't deserve my alternate fits of railing and weeping, it seems the only humane thing to do.


  1. I can so relate. If I don't exercise I feel rotten. The more I miss it, the more rotten I feel. I don't consider myself athletic at all, but I have worked out on a fairly regular basis since I was about 20. And while maintaining weight is one motivator, my mood is a stronger one.

    I had never thought of that in connection to being a writer, though--that many are prone to depression and at the same time writing requires a lot of sitting. Hm.

    1. Good for you--I admire your dedication to keeping healthy! We shall see if moving around more does anything for the pounds that have adhered themselves to my lower half. Honestly, as long as I'm feeling well, I think I can turn a blind eye to the number on my pants tag. :)

  2. Like. I'm struggling to find the balance between mommyhood, writing, house duties, but the worse struggle comes from my mental status...There are days I feel like I can take on the world and then there are days...we won't go there... We've started exercising (sort of) as a family, although our trip to Tennessee threw us out of the loop. Perhaps we will be back in the swing of it again.

    Also, I've read about other authors doing the same or encouraging the same. Get out there, be active... maybe one day we will find the balance...


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