The Knee-Bone’s Connected to the Brain-Bone


Fresh air is good for everyone’s bones.

We writers tend to be a sedentary lot, with the exception of a few like Arthur Slade, whose video of his own treadmill desk introduced me to the concept, and Kevin J. Anderson, whom I believe dictates his writing while he walks and hikes. And my friend Steph, who has constructed a standing desk that allows her to glide between writing, pacing, and prowling the environs of her writing room without the annoying obstruction of a chair. Also my friend Nancy, who built her own treadmill desk and uses it with much more consistency than I do mine.

Most of us, though, tend to sit. At desks, kitchen tables, in coffee shops, or curled up with our laptops. Which is nice and comfy and not-all-that-good-for-us.

Lately I am struggling to make the pieces of a novel fall into place. I have a mostly-complete first draft (with a bit of a hole in the middle), but it’s undergoing major renovations in the second draft and I need to do a lot of planning to get those accomplished and retain internal consistency. I’ve worked on it while sitting in a number of my various favorite writing spots, but yesterday I worked on it while walking at my treadmill desk.

And lo, the brain kicked into high gear. I made reams of notes and figured out a raft of things I needed to know.

It’s funny that we all *know* exercise is good for the brain, and yet most of us don’t actually apply that to our most brain-intensive activities. Like writing. Or planning writing.

I’d like to make a resolution to do all the rest of the work on this manuscript while at my treadmill desk, but I know that’s not practical. However, I do plan to log the time I spend on it there, and see what comes of it.

So if you’re struggling with a bit of writing or planning, try heaving yourself up out of that chair and go for a walk while you wrangle with your characters or your plot. Take a notepad or handheld recorder (like your phone) in case inspiration strikes like a wolf from the woods and you don’t trust your memory to make it back home. You might be surprised what a kick in the leg-bone will do for your brain-bone.

Photo credit: mmagallan

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