This weekend, new columnist Kate Hardy is converted to that Must Have gift of Christmas 08 - the Wii! (Note - if you got one for Christmas, post in the comments)
I should state upfront – I’ve never been a gamer. I didn’t get why my DH loved the driving games and the football games and what have you on the PlayStation. Never played Doom (or was it Dune?) on the PC.
But the Wii promised to be different. To be something that non-gamers could enjoy. (Or so the pleading from my husband and children went.) So we bought one.
Verdict? Wii Sports was OK. (I enjoyed the ten pin bowling and was rubbish at everything else). But I could take it or leave it… until Wii Fit came out. For me, it’s a double whammy. It’s fun, something I can share with the family. And it’s also a great work tool in that it helps to clear my thoughts and help me focus. It’s definitely a wind-down (and I also recommend Guitar Hero – it’s actually harder if you play the guitar for real, but it’s fun) and at the same time it helps with work.
Don’t believe me?
OK. First off, if you’ve hit the ‘uh, this isn’t going how it should do’ stage at a book, a good way to clear your head is to go for a walk, yes? With Wii Fit, you’re guaranteed to be rainproof, you don’t have to worry about traffic, and you can go round the island and find a view to inspire you – whether it’s rolling countryside or the seaside. You even get a dog for company! Keep to a steady pace, and the walking/jogging helps you think. (And, more importantly, you can stop and grab that notepad at the eureka moment to scribble down that snatch of dialogue or the plot point that’s going to fix the book. Do that in real life, and the dog is going to protest because he’s seen a sparrow or a cat or another dog or… you get the picture.)
There are two other activities in the aerobics section that are really good for letting things bubble in the back of your head: step, and boxing You have to concentrate on the pattern, just as you would in a real step class. And that’ll give you some time for your subconscious to work through a problem and give you the answer. As for the boxing: it’s a great way of getting rid of the frustrations when your characters won’t behave! And if the gym is your thing, there are muscle workouts. You set the reps, and again you can break off for the eureka moments.
Or then there are the ‘balance’ games – things that will make you do something different (and maybe give you a different perspective on the bit you’re mulling over). My two favourites are the heading game (you’d never, ever see me on a football field in real life!) and the one where you turn into a penguin and slide across the iceberg to catch fish. This also works as a wind-down because it’s fun – particularly on Sunday afternoons when you have a house full of family and you’ve been laughing a lot anyway. There’s also a tightrope to walk (which I can’t do) – oh, and the ski jump, which is hilarious (and you’d never get me on skis in real life).
And finally the games ones to help you chill out, relax, and get the muse flowing again. This is the yoga section; one of the activities makes you breathe properly, which sounds odd but is actually a brilliant if you’re stressed and panicking about the D-word. And, finally, the one where you sit still. Trickier than it sounds: you have to sit absolutely still and focus on the candle flame for a minute. Move, and the candle flickers. Move too much, and it goes out. But do it for a minute, and you’d be surprised how much more relaxed you feel.
So I'm a convert. And if you add the weight and exercise tracking tools: for someone like me, who doesn't enjoy the gym and who spends way too much time chained to a keyboard, this might just be the thing to help me keep my new year's resolutions - and enjoy them!
Kate Hardy has two books out this month:
Hotly Bedded, Conveniently Wedded is out in the US, and is also available as an enriched e-book (with pictures, recipes and over 130 links). Romantic Times Magazine says, 'This tale is full of myriad emotions as lifelong friends become lovers. It's nice to see the hero making all the right moves and working to convince the heroine that he's a true prince.'
And The Greek Doctor’s New Year Baby is out in the UK, US and Australia/NZ.
You can find out more about these books, and Kate, on her website (http://www.katehardy.com/) and her blog (http://katehardy.blogspot.com/).