Writing Basics

And One — And Two — And Exercise that Creative Muscle!

The following article was first published in Ink and Keyboard on Medium on Monday, March 1, 2021.

Photo by Kyle Gregory Devaras on Unsplash

Exercise the writing muscle every day, even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry. Writers are like dancers, like athletes. Without that exercise, the muscles seize up. -Jane Yolen

Have you ever thought of your creativity as a muscle? How about the skill of writing as a muscle? Is your brain a muscle?

If you think of creativity and writing as a muscle, then you probably realize that they need exercise.

Are you exercising your creativity and writing muscles daily?

NO?

Why not?

What are your daily writing expectations for yourself?

Do you expect that you will sit down and write a certain number of words or for a certain number of minutes each and every day? Or do you expect to complete an article each day?

Do you focus on a single niche when you publish here on Medium or are you one of those people who dabbles in several topics? Or do you work on one specific project until it is completed?

Even if you work on one specific project at a time, you should probably exercise your creative muscle as well each day.

Why?

Because if we only work on a single project without some added exercise, our creativity can begin to wither.

Just like an athlete needs to work on strength training, cardio, and agility, a writer needs to exercise different aspects of the creativity muscle. Building your creativity muscle and your brain muscle helps you develop your full writing ability.

How do you build your creativity muscle and your brain muscle?

FIRST, decide whether to exercise before or after you give due diligence to your current writing project.

SECOND, decide the format you will use in your exercise. Some require heavy lifting and others are just a light workout. (HINT: It is possible to vary your workout according to the energy used in your current writing project.)

Some exercises to consider include

  • write morning pages (Thank you, Julia Cameron)
  • write a note or letter to someone
  • journal your thoughts and feelings
  • write to a given prompt
  • take one day a week and brainstorm a variety of things to write about

My challenge for you: Take time each day to give your creative muscle the freedom to explore rather than to just be chained to a desk on a specific project.


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