Working Out/ Writing Out

Did you know that in the introduction to The Artist’s Way, you are supposed to commit to exercising? And did you notice in week two, when you make your “life pie” exercise is given an equal slice as ROMANCE? What gives?
Well, it seems that to feed your mind, you have to also take care of your body. I have been working out regularly with a trainer for about sixteen weeks. I can’t say that I have had a Janet-Jackson-transformation, but I have noticed the difference on the page.
It’s not that I come home from the gym and fall on my laptop and pound out ten pages, but at the gym, I’ve learned to control my breathing, which centers me when I am sitting at my computer. I’m working on my flexibility which lets me sit straighter and longer.
Also, working with a personal trainer has really been helpful to me as a teacher of writing. I am not great at working out. I have lead a pretty sedentary life so all this moving and lifting is new to me. To learn, I have to let myself be lead by my trainer. It has caused me to be more empathetic with my students. Experiencing beginners frustration and impatience with my workout reminds me of how my students must feel.
I’m working out three times a week, and you can see here that it ain’t pretty. But it’s important. To quote the Jennifers (Holliday and Hudson) “I am changing!”

About TayariJones

Author of SILVER SPARROW, LEAVING ATLANTA, and THE UNTELLING.
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3 Responses to Working Out/ Writing Out

  1. Michael Fischer says:

    For my New Year’s Resolution, I committed to exercising more, and, Monday through Friday, have been walking a two-mile greenway trail that circles a lake behind my apartment complex. However, after reading about the “artistic importance” of exercise in “The Artist’s Way,” I want to apply these walks more to my WRITING.
    (Here is the lake behind my apartment complex; the trail circles the lake…it’s tucked behind all of those trees:
    http://www.consultwebs.com/ncphotos/images/nature/2/lake_lynn_8853.jpg
    Cameron writes about how a brisk walk can dramatically change the conscious, and I’ve found this to be very true. It’s amazing how a brisk walk can affect one’s conscious for the coming day. I’ve discovered that my teaching performance has improved because a) I have more energy in the classroom and b) the time alone outside allows me to gather my thoughts for the day ahead.
    Now, as I’ve already mentioned, what I’m going to try to get myself in the mindset of doing—starting tomorrow morning—is applying these morning walks to MY WRITING. I’m not going to lie, I’m terribly blocked at the moment, and have thrown all of my concerns into teaching and figuring out what I’ll do next year (will I enter a PhD-CW program so I can buy myself more time to write that first book?) What’s ironic is that I’ve spent so much time lately worrying about how a PhD-CW program in the “future” will buy me more time to write that first book and using that as an excuse NOT to write right NOW! So I want to see if I can parallel the bends, curves, and hills of the trail to my writing process, because I’ve been avoiding those bends, curves, and hills.
    And oh yeah, there are a lot of weird ducks and geese on this trail, and they don’t move out of your way because they’re lost in their own little duck-duck-goose world. In fact, the other day, this fat goose hissed at me and chased me a little bit. That’s where I want to be with my writing–lost in my own world and PROTECTIVE of that world, just like the angry goose that almost bit my ankle.
    (Michael’s Censor: “you freak, what was that rambling, nonsense you just posted to Tayari’s blog? Talking about being one with the ducks and geese. I bet she thinks you’re crazy!”) ;-)

  2. cheryl miner says:

    Well…I think perhaps I’ve over stepped my exercise goal. I joined a 5 a.m. bootcamp program. I get up at 4.a.m. (and now 3:30 in order to do my morning pages)Monday thru Friday, make a fruit shake, dress and I’m out the door. (I shower right before bed and after boot camp. If I shower before boot camp the warm water is sending me back to bed). We run a couple of miles, do squats, pushups, lunges, free weights and curse our trainer under our breathe. My feet hate me. My muscles are no longer speaking to me and I could really use a margarita. But I have faith that this process will lead me to the end of my novel soooooo……gotta go….3:30 comes mighty fast…..

  3. Judy says:

    I walk daily, thanks to my 20-minute jaunt from the train to the school three days a week (a total of 40 minutes each day). I’ve always loved to walk because it is calming, meditative, and good for my heart. I wish I had Michael Fischer’s path behind my house with the ducks and geese. Sounds fabulous — at least when he isn’t being chased! I don’t know about the walks unblocking me though. I have just begun to force myself to show up to the page and WRITE. No excuses (I’ve become a master at excuse making — maybe I can turn one of them into a story . . .