Wednesday, February 23, 2011

WRITER'S WEDNESDAY: Exercising the Creative Flow

Fiona Lowe joins Writer's Wednesday to talk about how creating movement in her life helps her creative energy...

While the northern hemisphere is gearing up for spring break and are well into the second half of the school year, here ‘Down Under’ we’ve just started a new school year. It’s week three and routine is back. I need routine. During the summer I can write in short bursts but it’s not that easy although I am in love with my ear plugs!

As an author I sit a lot. Way more than my myotherapist is happy with but I find typing standing up a tad hard. I’m also over 35 and sadly, from about then and ever onwards, our body objects to too much sitting. Recently, my hips scream if I sit for more than an hour. Cue picture of me jumping to my feet, running down the stairs, making a cup of tea and doing circuits around the island bench while the kettle boils. Or pegging out the washing. Or walking to the mail box. Just moving in general.

When I was pregnant, I was a woman on a mission and I treated being pregnant as a job…have I mentioned I have a few anal retentive tendencies??? Anyway, I swam three times a week to be fit for labour and to be healthy for the baby. Once the baby came – job over- I stopped exercising. I’m not a naturally athletic person and I’ve had to work really hard at being a reasonable tennis player, and the thought of going for a run makes me sit down. But I know that to be creative, that to have a good work day, I need to exercise. The fact that I can talk myself out of it in a heartbeat is the problem.

Two years ago, the planets aligned. My youngest son started to take the bus to school so I lost the “walk to school” opportunity. However, the bus stop is next to a women’s gym. I had NEVER stepped foot inside a gym in my life. With great anxiety I walked in. Best decision I made. There were women there of all shapes and sizes and the fact that I am uncoordinated and fall over my feet when I try to raise my knee to my elbow didn’t matter. They just smile and said, “it takes a while to get it. You’ll be fine.” So I signed up.

I figured that DS2 had to catch the bus five times a week so I could attach my gym attendances to him walking out the door. Also, he is really bossy so he says, “Mum, shouldn’t you be coming to the gym?’ I love him to death but some days….

So I hit the gym three times a week and can be at my desk by 9am for my workday. I am more focused- ish (turn off the internet, Fiona) and my hips ache a lot less. Sure, when I’m tired, it’s hard to go but again my attendance is attached to a bossy 12 year old so I get thereJ If I don’t, I miss it. I miss the buzz I get, I miss the storylines running through my head or the manuscript problem solving that happens in the gym.

I think everyone needs to build some exercise into their day whether you’re writing or not and if you want to get started it doesn’t have to be the gym- I’ve done swimming, bike riding, walking and people tell me Zumba is great but I have that uncoordinated thing and figure I’d land on my face! If you don’t have a bossy 12 year old, then attach it to something in your daily routine so you can’t talk yourself out of it. I promise you, it will be worth it!

Fiona Lowe writes” romances for today” and her current release is a Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance. Single Dad’s Triple Trouble has a heroine who exercises occasionally. For more information about Fiona visit her at her website or on Facebook and Twitter


  1. OMG Fiona, great minds think alike! Or could that be great hips thik alike... I joined a women's gym last year to ave money, I had been at another gym for six years which was very swanky and had a pool, but was further away and I couldn't get there as often. After months of inactivity before Christmas I turned over a new leaf this year and have started going six days a week, just to do a half-hour on the cross-trainer. Got my oldest son to do me a mix of beat-heavy music for my ancient ipod and away I went. Torture at first, but my weight's down now and more importantly I feel so much more enthusiastic about my writing.... Not that I don't still struggle with the dreaded conflict but at least now I have the energy for the daily wrestling match.

    BTW I tried a Zumba class and nearly killed several of the other attendees by charging off in the wrong direction every other beat... Would not recommend it unless you're a natural at this stuff! Much prefer the cross-trainer where chances of casualties are fairly minimal.

  2. Hey, Fiona, I think I need to borrow your 12-year-old conscience! Alas I *know* I do feel better in so many ways when I exercise but I'm in sloth mode at the moment. ARGH! Why is it that the bad habits are so much easier to get into than the good ones! BUT I am starting a 15-minute-daily-walk routine on the theory that if I start small it'll be more maintainable... though nature is conspiring against me at the moment with all the rain. Our dirt road turns to mud!

    Anyway, good for you getting off to the gym regularly!

  3. Fiona, you're so right about the exercise! I find the weeks when I get to the gym and fit in some walks I feel great and the pain from time at the computer far less. Sadly, I've just had a frantic couple of weeks, compounded by whiplash after someone ran into my car and I haven't been to the gym in a while. Feeling very stiff. When I get there it will be such an effort but worth it I know. Isn't it interesting the way exercise helps your mind as well as your body?

  4. Me too on the exercise. The last few months, everything's really slipped, and I need to get it back. I've started doing the Jillian Michaels' Shred programme, and it works really well for me - circuit training with 3 mins of strength (aka hand weights), 2 mins of cardio, and 1 minute of abs work.

    Um. Hiatus this week as it's half term and I have DH and kids at home. But on Monday morning, I will be doing it straight after the school run, to get my head clear for a session at work.

    I also have one of those 3-axis pedometers (thanks to Natalie Rivers, who told me all about hers) and it's incredibly accurate. I know I need to get off my backside and do at least 10k a day; the pedometer is helping me track it.

    Very envious of your 12-y-o conscience. Must see if I can talk my 10-y-o into being mine!

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  6. Sorry - managed to post that twice, for some reason. (But I did walk almost 15k steps yesterday in London, so now I'm tired!!)

  7. Fiona, it's terrible how we stiffen up with middle age, isn't it? And of course, sitting all day doesn't help either. Good on you with the gym! So glad it worked out. I must say the whole idea of the gym scares the bejillies out of me. I actually am in better shape in summer. I have a pool and while I don't do what I'd call serious exercise in it, I do enough just to keep things moving a little more smoothly than they do in the winter. And I find the pool really loosens up my lower back which gets really tight when I sit all day at the computer. Actually my back health was better before I was published when I had time to write the first draft longhand. I used to do that in bed or on the couch and the benefit was that those lower back muscles didn't have quite as much pressure on them because of the more relaxed sitting position.

  8. Heidi, I used to get into a mess at aerobics so I too have avoided Zumba! Good for you on getting into a routine!

  9. Sharon, if it helps, I haven't been this week as got some gastro and man it is hard to get back into it but my hips are sending me there this morning!

  10. Annie,
    Sleep, exercise and the food we eat are a really important part of our mental health. HOpe you can create some time in your day soon.

  11. Anna, we have a pool too but this summer its been really cold!