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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Can Exercise Make You a Better Writer? by DiAnn Mills

by DiAnn Mills

Can Exercise Make You a Better Writer?

When I was fifteen years old, I wrote every night before going to bed. I was introverted and prone to a few low moods. Exercising in the mornings pumped the good stuff into my brain and improved my outlook on life and opened my mind to write. It’s a practice that became a habit. 

Pumping = Creating
Exercise is all about getting our bodies in shape, building muscle so we feel good, and staying alert and healthy. The result is we look good in our clothes, and our self-confidence soars with all the admiring glances. Depression and bad moods often fade, making us thrilled to create. Statistics prove those who exercise fight off diseases and infections. Weight loss is another benefit. Brain functions increase and energy levels are high while we sleep better. 

Those are good enough reasons for me to include appropriate exercise into my daily routine. I’m a writer, and I intend to write until my coffin’s closed. 

When we writers are fit, we are alert and excited about life’s challenges. 
The impossible becomes the next scene. 
The deadline is reached with days to spare.
Walking out my plot
When I have a plot problem or a character isn’t behaving the way I’ve envisioned, I’m off to my workout room. Between the equipment and the weights, I find the answers. The moving and sweating (glowing) pours creativity into my brain, and those little chemicals begin shooting messages like firecrackers. Some writers compose while walking. Great concept when we consider the benefits of utilizing the brain’s performance at its peak.

If you’re looking for a way to speed up your productivity with rapidly firing inspiration, here are six guidelines. 

Approval by your doctor. If exercise isn’t a part of your normal routine, I suggest a good medical checkup. The goal here is to enhance our creativity, not do damage to our body.

Exercising in the morning speeds up our metabolism and fires brain neurons. Strike a match and let your mind do what it does best.

Music has a powerful way of touching our emotions and boosting our moods. When listening to upbeat music while exercising, our pace increases. I’ve found that lifting weights to upbeat songs helps me increase the reps.

Proper nutrition goes hand in hand with exercise. Wisdom says we must know our body and listen to it. Eat a balanced diet and improve your body physically, mentally, and spiritually.
Shoes, yes shoes. We will destroy our feet and knees without proper support. Can’t develop one-of-a-kind characters and high-impact stories when our body hurts. Consider it an investment in an awesome writing career.

Sleep-deficit equates to lousy writing. When a writer’s head hits the keyboard, there’s a problem. Before we can utilize the benefits of exercise, we have to catch up on our sleep.

So what about you? Can exercise make you a better writer? Try it for one month and see if your creativity doesn’t burst onto the page in rich prose. 

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She currently has more than fifty-five books published. Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists and have won placements through the American Christian Fiction Writer’s Carol Awards and Inspirational Reader’s Choice awards. DiAnn won the Christy Award in 2010 and 2011. DiAnn is a founding board member for American Christian Fiction Writers and a member of Inspirational Writers Alive, Romance Writers of America, Faith, Hope & Love, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and International Thriller Writers. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. DiAnn is also a Craftsman mentor for the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild and is the 2014 president of RWA’s Faith, Hope, & Love chapter. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas.


  1. DiAnn, you've "guilted" me into getting off my behind and moving. I love walking outside in the mornings. I use the time to pray and plot. As most of you have heard, the Midwest has been under siege this winter from a stream of snow events/storms and a mass of frigid air known as the polar vortex. There is no place to walk out there, and in order to even try I'd have to wear so many layers I wouldn't be able to move that much.

    Not only that nearby gym closed and there's not much room in my condo for a treadmill like your lovely machine in the picture. All "good" reasons to not get out of my writing chair. But I do have walking videos I could pop in the machine that require very little room. and I can just turn down the sound and still follow along (I know most of the moves anyway).

    Today I will take 30 minutes and walk. I did find a gym that looks good on the internet and is about 20 minutes from my home. That's the next check that out for when the weather is bad.

    Thanks DiAnn! A great article.

    Anyone else joining me? Let's get moving!

    1. Pamela, I'm thrilled with your response! Now I'll watch your novels soar even higher!

    2. UPDATE: It took me a while to figure out the DVD and my cable connection. Duh! You'd think I'd remember by now. Sheesh. I actually did a 15 minute Power Walk with a Leslie Sansone DVD. It uses weights and works on the core at the same time as doing her walking moves. Probably enough for the body that has been hibernating all winter LOL.

  2. Good advice. Walking for me, gets the creative juices flowing better than anything else.

    1. Yeah! Maybe we should start a Facebook page or add a tab on Novel Rocket for writers on the Move! :)

  3. I flat out hate exercise, but I do it because the alternative isn't good. LOL I have a workout buddy who I meet at the gym. What's good is she's an avid reader and one of my beta readers. She also is great at helping me with idea and loves to help me plot. So I go and tolerate the exercise to get good ideas from her. ;o)

    1. Ane, whatever it takes and exercise can be more fun with a bud!

  4. Like Ane, I hate exercise. (Actually, what I hate is sweating ...) Women are better at workout buddies than men ... it always feels like a competition to me. Still ... maybe with my wife? I can (probably) beat her. Good stuff, DiAnn.

    1. Thanks! So who's joining me for movin' and creatin'?

  5. Wonderful blog DiAnn! I'm a running junkie, and I use my runs during the winter months to edit while I'm on the treadmill. Some days I think my best thoughts come to life while I'm running. My scribbled notes are not always the most legible, but I love that I can use the hour or two I'm working out to also be in the creative process of my WIP. We won't talk about the days I can't run due to weather or schedules, and I'm like a slug all day. Blessings

  6. Instead of envying those cool treadmill desks, I've been reading my email at the kitchen counter. I've put K-LOVE on and dance while catching up. (Yes, I'm an empty nester. Why do you ask?)


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