Wednesday, December 2, 2015

IWSG: Exercising the Mind, Body, Soul . . . & Writing Muscle!


Once again, it's the first Wednesday of the month and time for our Insecure Writer's Support Group postings.  I'm excited to be a co-host in December and am looking forward to visiting with many of you.  



The Insecure Writer's Support Group is a community of writers who love to share ideas and encourage others.  It's a great place to express doubts and concerns as well as offer and receive tribulations and guidance from other writers. IWSG posts the first Wednesday of every month.  I think you'll find it to be a great writer's resource that's well worth your time.  Be sure to stop by and visit with some of the other IWSG writers/bloggers at IWSG Members.

Please thank your other awesome co-hosts for the December 2 posting of the IWSG! 
Mark Koopmans, Doreen McGettigan, Megan Morgan, and Melodie Campbell! 

Exercise Those Muscles!

As we reach the end of another year and start looking ahead to the next, our thoughts often turn to those pesky Resolutions - things like lose weight, get organized, finish that book, exercise more!  While these will all certainly be on my goal list for 2016, the one that has consumed my thoughts the most lately is Exercise.  

The benefits of exercise to the body and mind are well documented - lower blood pressure & blood sugar levels, lower stress, greater fitness level, a feeling of well-being, and so on & on.  I strive to get my 10k steps daily (note I said strive), wearing my trusty FitBit for documentation and motivation.  I find that getting in a good, brisk walk not only helps me maintain a level of body fitness, but more importantly, it helps clear my mind and aids me in releasing stress.  It also frees my mind to wander and collect new book ideas.  I have a notebook filled with possibilities that I garnished from daily walks.  Having said that, the type of exercise I want to talk about today involves the writing muscle.  

One thing I continue to struggle with is the habit of daily writing.  I recently read a quote by Jane Yolen that set off bells in my head as it rings so true.

The Art of Writing is another thing that greatly benefits from daily exercise.  Just like exercising the body muscles, the act of writing needs to become a daily habit - practice makes perfect and all that jazz.  It's true.  As Jane Yolen said:  Writers are like dancers, like athletes.  Without that exercise, the muscles seize up!  The more you write, the better you become, the easier the words flow, the more productive you will be as a writer.  

Exercise those writing muscles!  Make sure you're writing something every day, even if it's just notes, character sketches, plot points, etc.  You'll keep that old writing muscle loose, warmed up, and ready to go each time you sit down to work on your story.  Definitely a goal for me in 2016!  How about you?  Do you exercise your muscles, both body & writing, daily?  How do you keep your writing muscles warmed up?






102 comments:

  1. Thanks for co-hosting! Definitely my goals are the same as yours for 2016. Exercise the body and writing muscle. Don't do enough of the former and can do more of the latter. I recently bought a mini notebook that I carry in my pocket everyday to help with that.

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    1. I have found wearing a FitBit to be more of a motivation to walk than I could have ever imagined! I just love peeking to see how many steps I've gotten in & pushing for more. The writing muscle is a bit harder for me, but I've met so many amazing writers that inspire me onward every day! Great idea to always keep a notebook near!

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  2. Too bad we can't hook a Fit Bit up to our creative muscles! But hey, you got your post done . . . and it's a good one! Keep flexing!!

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    1. Maybe the next great creation? Fitbit for the creative mind!? I'd buy one for sure! lol I did get my post done - sometimes, a little pressure is a good thing! Thanks Nancy!

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  3. Great post. My husband and I try to walk daily. It's something we can do together, talk and always feel good when we arrive back home. I do try to write something each day, be it an email, commenting on other people's blog or planning a new story. In terms of large chunks of writing, I do find I lack stamina. When I'm on a role and completely focussed, I can write up to 3000 within my allotted time scale. In 2016 I plan to build up stamina, both mentally and physically in order to be more productive. Wishing you a lovely week.

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    1. Thanks Nicola! A daily walk is an awesome thing for you & your husband to share. The key for me was making it a "habit" . . . once I made walking & writing a priority, they became a "habit" and much easier to maintain. I just need to exercise my writing muscle more in 2016!!

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  4. Thanks for co-hosting this month. I don't have a problem exercising my writing muscles, it's that other exercise I have problems with. On my list of goals for next year.

    Best wishes,
    Diane
    IWSG #85

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    1. Thanks, Diane! With the long hours we writers tend to spend with our behinds in a chair, I think the body exercise is important. I always come back from my walk refreshed & ready to work again.

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  5. Hi,
    Thank you for co-hosting this month. I liked the quote from Jane Yolen. I am very good at writing every day, however, I have been very weak in committing myself to a physical fitness schedule. I made up my mind yesterday to start visiting a fitness studio at least twice a week. I'm excited about it and I hope the excitement last.
    Shalom,
    Patricia

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    1. Good luck with your commitment to gym exercise, Patricia. I have friends who swear by it. I hope it proves beneficial to you. I loved the quote from Jane Yolen as it put me to thinking about the benefits of daily writing. Sometimes, I just need a reminder! Thanks for stopping by!

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  6. Thanks for the great advice, Sandra. Writing anything is better exercise than thinking about writing, that's for sure. Thanks for co-hosting!

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    1. I agree, Joylene! Any type of writing exercises the brain & writing muscles. Making it a habit is the key! Thanks for stopping by!

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  7. Fantastic advice! I make sure to do a little something both physical and creative every day. Even if it is just chasing my kid around or writing a few blog posts. Thank you for co-hosting. :)

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    1. Thanks, Christine. I'm sure you get plenty of exercise chasing your child around! And blog posts are a great, challenging way to exercise those writing muscles! I also write several book reviews weekly to keep my writing muscles loose.

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  8. Enjoyed your post on exercise muscles and writing. In fact, I just came in from a walk and am now sitting down writing comments to all you lovely co-hosts this month. I agree. Writing gets rusty if you don't use it, just like muscles and brain! Love your tag on your blog-it ain't love if it doesn't break your heart. Thanks for co-hosting!!

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    1. Thanks, J.Q. Writing does get rusty if you don't pursue it often. Even a few days away stalls my whole creative process and wastes precious writing time. Glad you like the tag because it's something I firmly believe . . . It ain't love if it can't break your heart! For real!

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  9. Nice. I hear you there! I've been writing every day since I was 14, and I've definitely felt the benefits--although it takes a bit for me to switch writing modes.

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    1. Crystal, it sounds like you do a great job of exercising your writing muscles every day! Good for you! Thanks for stopping by.

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  10. Hi Sandra, I'm not too bad about writing (nearly) every day. When you break it down into smaller things, like the lists and character studies you mentioned or into half hour slots (or even 10 minute slots) it becomes more acheivable.

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    1. Hi Angela! Thank you so much for stopping by. I think it's easy to sometimes forget that all writing helps exercise the writing muscle - lists, characterizations, outlines, whatever . . . 10 minutes here, 15 minutes there. It all works the brain & keeps the words flowing freely.

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  11. Hi, Sandra, nice to meet you. I try to write everyday, even if it's just blog hopping...

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    1. And thank you for co-hosting the IWSG!!!

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    2. Nice to meet you also, Cathrina. Thanks for stopping in. I find I do a lot of blog writing what with articles, book reviews, & commenting on other blogs. It all counts!

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  12. Hi Sandra, nice to meet you and thanks for co-hosting. I did it last month - it's fun, isn't it? I do write every day, even if it's only a few sentences in my journal.

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    1. Hi Karen! It is fun! I'm having a blast! I think journal writing is great. That's a habit I started as a kid! Thanks for the visit.

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  13. Very good advice. I have to get into better writing habits (and exercise habits, but you know). Thanks for co-hosting!

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    1. I have to work on it also but we'll get there! Thanks for stopping by, Deborah.

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  14. Our writing grows stale when we don't do it for a while. And it's harder to dive back in after a long break.
    Thanks for co-hosting today!

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    1. This has been so much fun, Alex. I love co-hosting! I lose something when I stay away from writing for too long. It seems to take me so much longer to find my groove again. I'm working on it!

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  15. After catching pneumonia from my daughter, both my writing and real muscles went to hell this month. I know December will be crazy busy, but I will strive to get back in shape on both fronts as soon as I can--maybe after a long nap!

    Thanks for co-hosting.

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    1. Hi Tamara! A nap sounds like a good idea right now! lol Hope you & your daughter are both feeling much better.

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  16. I've never been a fan of NY resolutions. They always seem to be grand gestures with no planning that wind up falling flat somewhere around February. Goals are great though. And while I'll never be able to write every day, I like to set monthly goals to keep myself on track.

    Hope you have a marvelous, and productive, 2016!

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    1. I'm not a huge Resolution fan either, A.B. But I find I will work harder to meet my goals. Thanks for visiting today.

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  17. Hi Sandra and thanks for co-hosting. I never thought of the daily thing as exercise. Always was the have to, feel crap if I don't get to. But thinking of even the small writing tasks as keeping fit makes it easier to accept the days of light work outs and also prepping for the big workouts.

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    1. Hi Dean! I have found thinking of it as mini workouts has me stoked to do more of it - just as my FitBit motivates me to walk just a little farther each day. I think we all have to find what motivates us and run with it. Thank you for taking the time to visit today!

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  18. Well, at least I think about writing every day, even if I don't always have the chance to.

    Thanks for co-hosting this month's IWSG!

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    1. Think about it? Well, that's the first step, isn't it? lol Thanks for stopping in, Ken.

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  19. I've slipped quite a bit on my daily exercising for both physical and writing. I plan to pick that up again in 2016. I agree both are important.

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    1. Hi Cherie! I had allowed myself to slip too far on both fronts. I like thinking of it as exercising my writing muscle. It's something I understand! Thanks for the visit!

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  20. It's funny you mention exercise this month, as I joined a gym (for various reasons) and in only four weeks my mental health has improved even more than the parts beneath my brain!

    Thanks for co-hosting... see you out there :)

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    1. I'm glad you mentioned mental health, Mark. Isn't it amazing what a little exercise does for your mind & soul as well as your body? It's such a stress buster! Thank you for dropping in.

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  21. Thanks Sandra for co-hosting IWSG this month. I write something every day. Gotta keep those writing muscles limber and strong.

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    1. Sounds like you've already formed the habit, Stephen. That's great! Thanks for the visit!

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  22. This is great advice. I find the more I write, the more I can write. I need to work on the physical exercise a bit more, though!

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    1. I've got to work on both more, Megan. And I so agree . . . the more you write, the easier the words flow, the more I can write. It's a circle. Thanks for stopping by today!

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  23. I love how you wove physical exercise with the mental aspect of writing. I agree. My brain works better when I do both and mostly every day.
    My current writing routine involves rising at 4:00 a.m. ... coffee! And then I write for a good 60-90 minutes. Since I'm reeved after whatever ideas I have crafted, I then turn my efforts to exercising at home. DVDs of boxing and dance and also Pilates for 40 to 60 minutes 😊

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    1. Great job, Erika! Wow! It sounds like you've got this mastered on both fronts. I, too, am trying the early morning writing time schedule - getting some work done before the house awakens. Thanks for coming by.

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  25. Excellent post. Yes, I'll admit I'm totally guilty of NOT writing everyday. It's a perfection thing with me. If inspiration is luke warm, I feel there's no point. I won't be able to capture the reader and the words don't seem to flow easily as when I'm drawn like an addict to feel that rush of inspiration. I will try harder and trust that once I put my butt in the chair, something wonderful will be created. Thanks for the pep talk.

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    1. I'm a Perfectionist also, Feather. My problem is constantly wanting to edit as I write. I've really had to work on letting it all go until the first edit. Thank you for visiting today.

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  26. So true. I get plenty of exercise taking care of our chickens. Good thing because I don't have time left over to take a walk. I'm even selling some chickens so I have time to edit because that's my job only in spare time. Naturally, if I make time to edit, I'm practicing writing as well... Thanks for reminding me and for visiting my post!

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    1. Oh yay...another "chicken lady" like me! lol I think editing definitely qualifies, Sher. It's something I've been trying my hand at also as I try to learn all aspects of the writing business. Thank you for your visit.

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  27. I like the comparison of our writing health to our physical health, so true. Exercise, exercise, exercise, and eating healthy would be reading and studying the things that will make us better writers.

    I had the habit at one time of writing everyday, but I lost this year, so working hard to gain it back, stumbling a lot, but pushing toward that goal. I can say it made me quicker to begin, when I did it everyday, I am sure it made me better too,. Great post. Thanks for co-hosting this month.

    Merry Christmas
    Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

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    1. I find writing daily keeps me in that groove, keeps my story & ideas fresh in my mind, and helps me get words flowing again much quicker. Exercise is important in ALL aspects of our lives! Thanks for visiting, Juneta!

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  28. Great advice. Now if only I can develop the self discipline to follow through. Thank you.

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    1. It's something I work on daily, Eliza...one day at a time. Thank you for stopping in today.

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  29. Thanks for co-hosting IWSG, Sandra! I write every day, but I could definitely use more physical exercise. I don’t own a car, though, so I do get plenty of walking in. It’s either that or starve. :)

    VR Barkowski

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    1. Walking is great physical exercise, VR! I think you've got it! Great that you're also in the habit of daily writing. Thank you for stopping by.

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  30. I don't write absolutely every day, but I generally do something writing related - editing, searching for markets, subbing and I read a lot too.

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    1. I think all those things count as writing, Patsy. Everything involved is so time-consuming. But even notes, lists, etc., can keep us in the groove of writing. Thanks for visiting.

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  31. I have to write every day otherwise I lose thread of the story. I got into the habit a few years ago, and now it's rare that I miss a day. I'd be so confused every time I came back to my draft if I didn't make time to work on it daily.

    Thanks for co-hosting!

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    1. Exactly! That's me! If I don't write daily, I have to back up way too much to get it all back to clicking in my head. It's great that you write daily, Emma. Thanks for sharing that today.

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  32. I plan to exercise my writing muscle starting in January by taking classes in writing, grammar, and editing. I'm excited! :D

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    1. Oh Yay, Chrys! That's exciting! Good luck with your classes!

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  33. I agree with the writing something every day, even if it's just notes, character sketches, plot points...
    I don't write everyday but I do need to develop the habit.
    However, reading takes up a lot of my time as well. Writers need to read.
    Thank you for co-hosting the IWSG this month.

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    1. I agree with you about reading also, Michelle. I'm a voracious reader. Sometimes, it's hard for me to stop reading long enough to start writing! But I think to be a writer, you need to be a reader. Thanks for visiting.

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  34. I don't exercise as much as I should, though I did manage to lose over 30 pounds this past year by walking more and watching what I eat. I've been doing better at exercising my writing muscles in the past year too. I hope I can keep this up through 2016.

    Thanks for being a co-host this month!

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    1. That's awesome, L.G.! Walking is amazing exercise. I started it a couple of years or so ago. The feeling of well-being it instills is amazing. Good luck with it in 2016. Thank you for stopping in today.

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  35. What a worthy goal for the next year, and all the years after. Thanks for the reminder, Sandra. Great post.

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    1. Thanks Olga! I do better setting goals rather than resolutions.

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  36. I had to laugh — all those resolutions you mentioned are on my list, particularly getting my second book finished and hopefully published in February. I write as often as I can and think about writing all the time. Thanks for co-hosting!

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    1. My intentions are good! lol Finishing my book is at the top! Good luck with your 2nd book - hope you are able to meet that February schedule. Thanks for stopping in.

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  37. I write just about every day indeed, even if it is just a blog post. I do P90x for exercise too, so I got both down haha the crazy voices in my head never shut off though.

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    1. Great job, Pat! It sounds like you've got it all going on! Thank you for visiting.

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  38. Terrific tips! I walk the stairs at work at least four times a day at three flights. Plus my pilates before I head out for work. Thanks for co-hosting!

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    1. Stairs are great exercise! I think you've got that part covered! Thanks for visiting.

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  39. I've been considering a FitBit, but haven't had a chance to look into first.
    I think when it comes to writing, saying it can be anything makes it easier for me to swallow. I don't always write on a story every day, but writing something and using it to practice and write well is helpful.

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    1. Love my FitBit! There's something about it that results in "accountability" for me...makes me push a little harder or something. With writing, everything counts! A list, notes, jotting down ideas - it all exercises those writing muscles! Appreciate you stopping by!

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  40. My writing muscles got a good workout last month with NaNo now the real challenge starts, keeping it up! Keep moving forward and so awesome to co-host with you!

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    1. NaNo will exercise those writing muscles for sure! Congrats on taking on that challenge. Awesome to co-host with you also! It's been fun!

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  41. I'm horrible at exercising daily, both physically and writerly. But I do try to get a bit of activity in. Maybe my walk doesn't qualify as exercise or my graphics design doesn't count as writing, but it's something, right?

    Thanks for co-hosting!

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    1. You walk definitely counts - walking is a great exercise for the body & mind! I know too little about graphic design to know how much it exercises the writing muscle...but every little bit helps. Thanks for dropping in, Loni!

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  42. Sooo right! Thanks for co hosting, and I do believe exercising the writing "muscle" is a must...!

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    1. I get so rusty when I miss too many days writing. Same goes for exercising the body! Thanks for the visit, Lisa!

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  43. Thanks for co-hosting this month.
    Wow! You pretty much hit on what I was talking about this month as well. I've vowed to make a list (of what I need to do) and keep to it. That list is going to include exercising both writing and body. And I've found the two go hand in hand. When I'm running a 5K, I find it's the best time for my mind to open up and let the creative juices flow. I do this quite frequently, because after a while I forget the list and start doing nothing. Depression sets in and I become lazy. At least when I make a list and stick to it, I become more productive, both in writing and in working around the house and maintaining my health as well.
    Keep up the good work. Thanks for the motivation!

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    1. Exercise is great at keeping the mind clear and banning depression. I always feel better after a long, brisk walk. Same goes with writing - As long as I write almost daily, my thoughts, ideas, & words flow. When I take too long a hiatus, I lose the thought process & waste precious writing time trying to get it back. Congrats on doing the 5K's, Jeffrey! That's awesome. Thanks for taking time to drop in.

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  44. Thanks for co-hosting.
    I just wish I exercised my other muscles as much as my writing muscle. Maybe this January I'll keep that resolution! :)

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    1. It sounds like you've got the daily writing exercise conquered at least! I have to push for more exercise on all fronts in 2016. Thanks for stopping by, Yolanda!

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  45. I am making only one goal for 2016; to write 100 words a day on any project, not including bloggin or book reviews. That should be easy enough to accomplish.

    As for physical exercise, I'm working on it. Maybe not every day, but most days :)

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    1. Dolorah - that sounds like a good, doable goal! Good luck with it in 2016.

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  46. Just like my muscles and joints, I find I operate at my best if I get at least a little exercise in every day. It doesn't have to be a marathon. I quick walk around the block or a few paragraphs during lunch keeps me in contact with my characters.
    Thanks for co-hosting.

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    1. So true, Elizabeth. It doesn't take a lot to stay loosened up & ready to go...it just takes consistency. Thanks for visiting.

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  47. I try to get that brisk walk every day though I'm a bit of a baby when it comes to the cold. I do write nearly every day so at least I'm keeping that in shape.

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    1. I'm with you - a baby about the severe cold...although being in the South, I can't complain. At least I seldom have to battle the snow & ice. Sounds like you're on the right road, Susan. Thanks for stopping by today.

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  48. I'm retired and gave up dieting then, and I gave up exercising when I started writing a lot. I've gained about 60 lbs, but it's wonderful and freeing not to do things I hate. ;)

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  49. I hear ya, Lexa! There's something liberating about doing whatever you want, whenever you want. I do think exercise is important to one's overall well-being though, and have found that I enjoy a good, long walk. Best of luck in 2016!

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  50. Thanks for visiting the ToiBox of Words Sandra.
    I like this post. It's a great reminder of the one thing we writers need to do, which is to write. It's also good to consider taking better care of ourselves.
    I tried to keep a daily writing goal and found that it stressed me out, but I'm likely the exception to the rule. I do still have writing goals, just not daily ones. I still tell people that a daily writing goal is the best place to start.

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    1. I need the daily writing exercise to stay loose, keep my ideas jumping, words flowing. In the past, I've spent too much time trying to regain my line of thought, etc., after too long a hiatus from writing. I think everyone has to find what works for them & run with it! Thanks for stopping by Toinette!

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  51. I keep my writing muscles charged up simply by continuing to think about what I'm going to write, how I'm going to write it, on days when I simply don't have time for my fiction writing.

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    1. That's awesome, Cynthia. It's all about whatever works for you. Thanks for stopping to visit with me!

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  52. I definitely try, but am a long way from making this consistent. I do love my FitBit, despite the fact that I resisted the trend. It was too hard to carry my phone around as a stair stepper all the time.

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    1. I resisted the trend also, Shannon, but I've found the FitBit to be a great motivator. I'm working on getting 10k steps every day as well as writing every day. Thanks for visiting with me today!

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