Writing exercise

Joe’s Post #156 —

Germany's Irina Mikitenko runs on her way to winning the women's London Marathon April 26, 2009. REUTERS/Toby Melville (BRITAIN SPORT ATHLETICS IMAGES OF THE DAY) - RTXEE9V

Germany’s Irina Mikitenko runs on her way to winning the women’s London Marathon April 26, 2009. REUTERS/Toby Melville (BRITAIN SPORT ATHLETICS IMAGES OF THE DAY)

Ok, so this post may not be what you think.

It’s not a quick post about a writing exercise. You know, ‘write a story with the word blueberry in the first sentence’ or ‘write your plot as a haiku while hanging upside down from a chandelier.’

No, this post was sparked by something I read in the Atlantic. La-de-dah, right?

Well, to be honest, I’m not normally an Atlantic reader, but this link came from Publisher’s Weekly, which I do read. So there.

It said, of all things, that writers like to run.

At first I thought, what the f***? I know like a hundred writers and maybe 3 of them run, and one of them is usually running to chase bad guys. So, how could this be true?

If I was to run – something I did way back when I was young (and actually enjoyed it, though they called it playing soccer) – anyway, if I was to run, I’d be too worried about how I looked, how much of me jiggled like a bowl full of jello, and why my running shorts were constantly pinching my crotch.

Plus I’d be huffing and puffing like an out-of-breath elephant and scaring children that saw me. I’d be a magnet for 911 calls.

So, yeah, not a good way to get out of my head and think about story or character or plot problems. But that’s me.

Read the article and find out for yourself.

But it got me thinking, cuz that’s what highfalutin magazines do.

What exercises do you do?

Sophia-chaser-zombie-760Me, I’m a walker. No, not a zombie walker, though if you see me before I’ve had my cup of coffee, then you might mistake me for one.

Walking, like running for some, helps me clear my head. It gets me out of my writing space which, oddly enough, sometimes inhibits the creative process, despite my collection of star wars collectible figures and inspirational writing books. As well, the fresh air helps me get in touch with my senses, again. Smell. Sound. Sights.

All good things for a writer.

I know my 5/5/5 buddies have their own writing exercises. If you read their posts, you might see the odd tennis game, gym membership or active gardening.

But I don’t think what you do matters.

What matters is that we writers get out of our basements, out of our offices, or get released from the mental institute for an hour or so. It’s way too easy to simply sit there and write, think about writing, research a new word for fornication or get lost in a google search that began with “what’s the best way to smother someone?”

Simply put, we cannot live only in our heads. We need fresh air. We need to be in the world, if only for a few hours.

It makes us better writers.



Page count:  Not much over 100 pages now. I’m not proud of myself.

Queries Sent:  4.

Rejections:  Holding at 1. So far.

Blogs Written Since Last Post:  1 (not a lot new at Just A Stepdad.)

Exercise:  5 days straight.

Movies Seen:  Missed seeing Specter today because of parenting commitments.

Book I’m Reading:  Looking at David Sedaris.



Why write?


Joe’s Post #24 — It’s a good question. It takes away time from watching Glee. It’s hard. Generally, pimply-faced kids make more at McDonald’s. And, at the Oscars, no one could give a hot damn who wrote what.

So why?

For me, 11 things (11 ’cause Letterman has a patent on the top 10 list, so, like Spinal Tap, I’m going to 11!)

1) Zombies can’t write and someone needs to tell their stories.

2) Every time I invent a new verb, I get a little tingle in my private parts. Verbing new words…So fun.

3) I can’t sing. I can’t dance. I can’t play the didgeridoo. It’s pretty much the creative outlet of last resort.

4) I learn so many new things that I would otherwise never think of looking up. Coke was originally green. Nagasaki was not the city the 2nd bomb was going to be dropped on. Decimation came from a Roman form of discipline. Banging your head against a wall burns 150 calories an hour. Who knew?

5) I get to be all sorts of people. Serial killers. Unicorns. Unicorn serial killers. Grief-stricken victims. Brave teenage girls. Tough-guy PIs. Wise-cracking rogues. I guess the cool thing really is I don’t get locked up for having so many personalities.

6) I can write-off my laptop.

7) I have all sorts of excuses to go to other places in the world.

8) When a scene comes together and sings, it’s a magical moment. Heroine addicts know what I’m taking about. Sex addicts, too, I should imagine.

9) I have an excuse to go to a coffee shop every day.coffee

10) Hot women will read my writing and want to meet me. (Actually, I never thought this was true until the other day.)

11) It’s what I’m meant to do. I may not be successful at it, I may never sell a bizillion books or appear on the Tonight Show, but I know it in my bones. This is my calling.

Now, I need to burn off some calories and bang my head against a wall.

Queries: 5

Rejections: 1

New Novel Ideas: 2 (I love the idea of serial killer unicorns.)

Holes in Wall: 1