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    Overcoming Writer’s Block Through Movement: Yes, We’re Talking Exercise

    So last week, after spending an hour doing a BODYPUMP workout (imagine weightlift plus cardio), my body hurt all over but my idea juice flowed.

    I have always been writing. My room is full of small notebooks lying around. And the best part is I always have millions of ideas since I consume a lot of information from listening to music and watching documentaries and dramas, to doom-scrolling social media. But last week, for the first time in my life, I was stumped. I had no idea churning out of my brain. It’s like my brain just refused to brain (yes, that’s a grammar error but I just intend it to be that way). Anyway, I did so many things I listed above but still nothing. Na da. I experienced that for about a week until I decided to hit the gym one day.

    Yes, writers and readers, exercise helps a lot with creativity.

    The following are the ways in which exercise can help with writing.

    It Improves Brain Function

    Sitting down and writing for hours can put a certain impact on your blood flow. Exercise helps to increase blood flow to the brain. This directly enhances your cognitive ability. We’re talking about creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving. This can lead to clearer and more effective writing.

    Editor-in-chief for WIRED, Nicholas Thompson, describes this best: “I do notice that a lot of the best thinking I get done, or ideas generation, or problem-solving, happens when I’m running and trying to focus on stuff outside of my head. I remember vividly going on a run and coming up with the structure for the speech I gave at my wedding, which is actually a pretty important writing assignment!” He even added that he had no idea as to why the structure came to him while running and not sitting. Running gives him a deep understanding of things he has written or edited.

    Exercise Enhances Creativity

    This is an important point for creative people like us! Movement actually helps to stimulate our brain. Yes, one of the most vital organs for our living hood. Moving your body to the rhythm of Zumba or lifting heavy dumbbells promotes creative thinking. And the best part? It helps writers to come up with new ideas, metaphors and strategies to approach writing.

    Not convinced yet? Well, let five times New York Bestseller, Malcolm Gladwell convince you. While running he uses that opportunity to free-associate. Free association is a psychology practice where one is allowed to discuss thoughts, recollections, dreams, or even words regardless of whether they’re logical or consistent. “I free-associate [while running]. I suspect a lot of useful thinking is going on on a subconscious level. I do not run with music, so I am completely unencumbered when I run,” said Gladwell.

    Mind and Body Connection

    Engaging in physical activity activity can help to improve your mind-body connection thus helping you in becoming more aware of your thoughts and emotions. This is the most important part for me. I have a very noisy brain. So noisy that it inhibits my ability to think.

    #1 bestselling author and ultra-endurance athlete, Rich Roll describes how swimming helps him to quiet his mind and gain clarity. He said, “Submerged, the idle chatter of the monkey mind recedes. Each stroke, each lap is like a metronome, lulling me into a calm state of presence. When my swim is complete, I have an inescapable feeling of gratitude, with a light dusting of accomplishment.

    Side note: gratitude makes you live longer and lead a happier life.

    Discipline and Routine

    I know and understand that establishing a routine and being disciplined is hard for most people. It is especially hard if your line of work has no clear timeline. This is where exercise helps. Establishing an exercise routine requires discipline, which can spill into your writing routine. Consistency in exercise can promote better time management and a structured approach to your writing practice.

    Haruki Murakami, one of the world’s greatest novelists stated that when he is in writing mode, he would get up at 4 a.m. and work for 5 to 6 hours. Then, he would go for a 10-kilometer run or 1,500 meters swim (or both) before proceeding to do a little bit of reading and listening to music. He would sleep at 9 p.m. He said, “I keep to this routine every day without variation. The repetition itself becomes the important thing; it’s a form of mesmerism. I mesmerize myself to reach a deeper state of mind.


    I love to promote exercise to everyone who would listen. I know it’s an uncomfortable situation and like most people, I dread the idea of going to the gym. So last week, after spending an hour doing a BODYPUMP workout (imagine weightlift plus cardio), my body hurt all over but my idea juice flowed. I hate and love every minute of it. The chatter in my brain subsided as soon as my body picked up the barbell. Yoga can’t even compare to the serenity I gained from doing heavy stuff.

    So there you go. Indeed, exercise facilitates brain function, further improves creativity, anchors your mind to your body, and instils discipline.

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    A freelance model that wears many hats. She obtained her masters degree in English Language in ancient times. Her articles are mostly funny, witty and sometimes downright dark. Her interests are limitless but she chooses arts over any other. Subscribe for more paradoxical contents.

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