The Healthy Writers Club: How to Push Your Writing (and Exercise) to the Next Level

Sep 14, 2012

UPDATE: You can sign up officially for The Healthy Writers Club by going here! That way we can all find each other.

As writers, we hear a lot about the "butt in chair" tactic, which is great for our manuscripts, but not so great for the actual butt in the chair. So welcome to The Healthy Writers Club! Every Friday, I'll be posting about how healthy I've been that week, and I invite you to join me! Of course, that means you need to get out and do something healthy. :) Basically, if you're game, you can run, walk, bike, make a healthy dinner, play tag with your kids, etc. Then, you post about it on Friday (or whenever you want). You can even use this handy-dandy button to link back here.

Right now, I run about three miles a week-- one mile every other day. It's a little pathetic how slow I am. My current pace is between a twelve and fifteen minute mile, and in the track team in high school, I could run a seven minute mile (also a little pathetic, at least for the track team). But hey, I just had a baby two months ago, so I figure any running at all is pretty good.

The thing is, I can't run three miles a week forever, not if I'm planning on running a 5K in November and a half-marathon by March. So I looked up a bunch of training schedules, and I have a plan that bumps me up gradual running distances each week so I can reach my goals.

I thought about this in terms of writing today.

We all want to write. And hopefully, we all want to keep writing better, to push ourselves farther. There's no exact schedule for this like my half-marathon training, but some of the rules are the same.

Don't push yourself too fast. This week, for example, one of my runs was a mile and a half, and next week two of them are. As I train, I have to be careful not to exceed about 20% of my current distance during a single week, because that can lead to injury.

With our writing, while it's good to work toward more words a day, deeper plots, more complicated characters, better prose, etc., we can't do all that at once. If we try, we'll end up burning out and getting discouraged. With each story, we can apply some of what we learned from the last one to make the next one better. But it's okay if we don't write the perfect book for our next one!

Allow time for rest. I don't run every day. If I did, I might get hurt. Now, I DO write almost every day, because I love it. However, I never write on Sundays, and I don't get after myself if there's a day during the week where I'd like to watch a movie with my family.

Have fun! Running is fun for me-- even though it hurts. Same thing with writing. Pushing myself to do better can be hard. It's hard to hear what my critique group says sometimes, and it's hard to pick a new story idea when I know it's going to involve deeper characterizations than I've ever done. But it's fun! I love writing! I love pushing myself to do better and work harder.

And now, my stats for the week:

Stats: Ran 3.5 miles
In-flight entertainment favorite: Writing Excuses episode 6.30: Help! I can't end my book!
Coolest moment: Adding a half mile to my run and completing the whole thing
Hardest moment: Adding a half mile to my run and completing the whole thing


Peaches Ledwidge said...

Tying writing and running together helps to make us think about what we want to achieve and how we will in the best way possible.

David P. King said...

I'm starting my routine this week, thanks to your club offer. I totally joined it. :)

Rachna Chhabria said...

I am amazed that you are running so soon after your baby. Be careful that you don't over strain yourself.

MKHutchins said...

Good luck with running!

This post is such a good reminder. I love doing Tai Chi -- makes me calmer and helps me sleep better -- but I often forget with the bustle of the day.

RaShelle Workman said...

I like it, Shallee. I'll be a part of the Healthy Writers Club. Where do I sign up?

Angie said...

Good for you, Shallee! I'm trying to walk 2.5 miles each day and get plenty of sleep. Also, I'm trying out a new writing process to see if I can get things done faster. It's great to improve!

Precy Larkins said...

Oops, I forgot to exercise. Better get on it ASAP! Thanks for the reminder!

Cheyanne said...

This is amazing! Such a great blog idea, I'm totally going to use it as well! I've become totally addicted to fitness this year and a lot of it is because I spend so much time sitting, both at work and while writing.

Congrats on your running accomplishments! Have you tried the couch to 5k program or anything similar? I've used it a few times and really like it, since I'm not a natural runner. I have to build my way up.

Johanna Garth said...

This sounds like so much fun and kudos to you for combining healthy lifestyle and writing.

I run three miles a couple times of week and try (try being the operative word) to write 2k a day.

Chantele Sedgwick said...

I'm itching to get back into running. 5 more weeks until I can get the go ahead from the doctor. Until then, I'll cheer you on!! :D

mshatch said...

I don't run every day either and I probably only run about a mile but it is on the woods on a trail so I think the dodging of roots and stones counts as extra, don't you? But I do write almost every day because I love it and I can :)

Shallee said...

Okay, folks, I've added a blog hop list so we can all find each other! It's over on the sidebar, or I added a link at the top of this post.

Can't wait to see ya'll around!

Anonymous said...

Good luck. :) I've been meaning to get into a new routine after falling out of my old one--I used to walk a lot. Maybe I'll start this week.

Ghenet Myrthil said...

I love this! I went for a jog yesterday and it was HARD. I'm doing couch to 5K but I'm not running as often as I should. My goal is to jog/exercise 3 times a week so your posts will be extra motivation. :)

LisaAnn said...

This is such a wonderful idea. I really want to start doing this. Moving at the beginning of October, and I resolve to jump on board in mid-October!

So happy to know you now!

Shallee McArthur © 2013 | Designed by Bubble Shooter, in collaboration with Reseller Hosting , Forum Jual Beli and Business Solutions