Sit at your desk writing and all you’ve got is a book about a desk.

A game of squash

A game of squash, if this was a photo of me, I’d be on the floor, sweating and purple (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A double yellow squash ball.

A double yellow squash ball. These are slow balls and we play with the blue……(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have been killing myself, learning something new over the past few weeks. I have learned how to run around a squash court. I’ve learned that puce is the colour I turn just before I get to full purple and I’ve learned that a desk job and sedentary lifestyle is to blame for a complete inability to move with real pace and grace.

The day after the first match, my legs felt like someone had driven a steam roller over them and as I had fallen over trying to hit a couple of shots, I also had the bruises to show exactly which part of this frame, hit which part of the court when I went down. My legs now resemble a rainbow of yellow greens.

Laying in bed, nursing both bruises and dented pride, I got to thinking about how good I felt after the exercise and how competitive my nature truly is. I knew I was never going to win as my lovely husband used to play Squash for a county up North. Out on that court, I just didn’t care. For every four points in a row he got, I won one back and it was hard-earned, it was hard-won and I rejoiced inside.

My husbands not the type to let me win either and whilst the sensitive are thinking, “how mean!” He knows damn well, I’d hate it any other way.

So a sense of competition and running around doing something to stimulate oxygen to my brain has had an unexpected impact that I think was missing before.

I used to think the hard part was sitting down and writing and continuing to write until it’s finished. That is what everyone tells you isn’t it? A thousand blogs telling you to sit down and write until those digits bleed, until your sick of the sounds of the keys and the cold coffee your nursing.

I don’t think that’s a productive way to produce quality work. I think to write about what you know, if all you do is sit at a desk, well, that’s all you know. The pain and frustration of trying your very best and still sounding stilted, contrived and wondering why you’re not as creative as other people just sucks as a strategy.

You need to get out and smell the roses, do something that you enjoy and like doing. Meet some new people in real life. Do something that stimulates your emotions and your creativity is not going to be far behind.

Make the minutes you spend writing count, by filling the rest of your time with things that matter. I’m not giving you a license to procrastinate but sitting at a desk torturing yourself doesn’t help you achieve your goals. Living life in a full and authentic way is the best and most rewarding road to writing well..

The absolute best thing about doing this from a writing perspective, is a speech impediment I noticed that one of the receptionists had and an incident with a small child and their parent at a roller-disco they host in the sports hall. I’d never have the exact quirks or nuances of those situations – if I hadn’t been going to do something I enjoyed.

Live well, write well. In my eyes – they are intrinsically linked.

Comments, as always, – welcome.

12 thoughts on “Sit at your desk writing and all you’ve got is a book about a desk.

  1. The metaphor of a writing muscle seems very appropriate here given your recent squash game (well done, its a tough game. “Get fit to play squash, dont play squash to get fit” they say. but im digressing.)
    Yes you need to keep your muscles exercised to keep them fit, but if all you ever do is exercise they won’t operate at their best. Yes, write every day if you can but burning yourself out is counterproductive. and no fun

    • It is a tough game but it is helping my fitness. I can now still hold a conversation after about ten minutes of playing albeit in short raspy breaths. The first game – I was seeing white splotches and sat down after about ten minutes with my head between my knees. I”m not joking. Thanks for commenting and your brownies look ace!

  2. Totally agree that it’s the little day-to-day “quirks” that lift writing from blah to brilliant. And trying too hard to be creative is a sure-fire way of ensuring you get nothing usable down on paper at all. Although the converse can be true as well – there are the rare occasions when sitting at your desk, stuck for where to turn next, you drift off into a scene that just writes itself before your astonished fingers.

    • Hi JFC, I know what you mean, there’s so much sit there till you die advice about writing that I thought I’d put the other side across, I completely agree about the sometimes you just have to try and it all comes forth. 🙂 Thanks for commenting.

  3. Balance is key to any endeavor. I think the write till you die enthusiasts are trying to get their first million words down. (Or they have such interesting lives that they don’t need to be reminded to have life experiences outside writing… uh-huh). I’m like you though, I meet new people and they spark a creative thought, I see new sights and they inspire me. I want to hit my first million, sure. But I want them ALL to be tortured 🙂

    Good luck with squash. It looks similar to raquetball… my wife beats me every single time!

    • Let me know how you get on with the first million? I’m on fifteen. LOL. Thanks for commenting. You have to have new data, to be creative or you end up writing the same things every time. Thanks for commenting.

  4. I’ve prolly written something to this effect before–but it’s a proven fact that stimulating the cortices that bridge the ‘bellums through cardiovascular activity in turn stimulates the creative process. The one cortex is creative–the other logical–and the bridge stimulated makes it all flow together.

    I “work out” (but in my mind–I play) every day–and that’s where virtually all of my ideas come together for me. Play on, Sarah!! And something else? read a passage that is troubling you before you go to exercise–something you can’t get right for some reason, and your backburning noggin will work it out as you yourself work out.

    • Thanks for the tip. I played again today and find I am more creative when I come back. I get about forty five minutes where it just flows. Thanks Karen, hope all is going well with the exciting book launch…

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