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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Good Intentions

Like a lot of people, I’m fairly goal orientated. I find it difficult to sit and do nothing for long periods of time and when I do sit still I often fall into another story idea that pleads to be written. To keep up with my overactive imagination I set goals, write them down where I can see them and record my achievements in my diary. It’s a great motivator to flick back over past weeks and see that yes, I did work hard. I often do more toward my writing career than I remember.

It’s a pity though that goal setting doesn’t seem to work for me with keeping in shape.

Despite my good intentions of trimming down prior to the RWA Conference, to make the change from Australian winter cold to New York summer heat more bearable, I’m a little rounder than I should be. At my age, because of family medical history, I should have fewer inches on my middle and be moving a whole lot more.

But the lure of my writing life has proved very difficult to ignore. I’m always tweaking a story, tweeting and checking my email. All activities that tie me to a chair. For lots of reasons, I’m going out less than I used to. Sadly, my inner introvert is pretty happy over that but she’s not helping me stay in shape.

A couple of months ago now I read an article on exercising while working. The treadmill desk is said to help with general fitness while keeping your writing ticking along. I had thought, Yes!, the answer to my fitness problems. I have a treadmill, complete with dust, and hubby constructed a simple desktop to accommodate my laptop and mouse. (such a nice man)

Full of enthusiasm, I started. There was an immediate problem however . . . I have terrible balance and my typing accuracy and speed were shockingly low. I had not fully appreciated my finger’s skill at keeping up with my brain until I physically couldn’t do it. I haven’t taken a typing speed test in a decade but I must be a lot quicker than I give myself credit for. Typing so slowly is horribly frustrating when in the midst of a great writing flurry and I needed to return to the tried and true and continue writing my story from a chair.

So, the plan altered. I wasn’t great at writing a first draft while walking so I tried critiquing and editing. My reasoning was that there would be far less typing involved and the typos wouldn’t take so long to correct. (Although that does contradict the purpose of an edit – to fix mistakes, not make them) At first, critiquing seemed to work well. Until I stayed on the treadmill a bit too long one day. Perhaps it was the angle of my head to the screen, it might have been the twist of using the mouse while walking. But the result was a pretty bad migraine that stopped me writing anything at all for a few days.

I must admit I was incredibly disappointed. Migraines are the bane of my life and while I’ve never pinpointed exactly why I get them, I’ll always run away from potential triggers. Even chocolate. I love chocolate, but it might not be exactly good for me and consumption must be kept to a minimum. So the treadmill is collecting dust again. Poor tready. I’ve never really warmed to you. I should have gone with the rowing machine and although that one hurt in all sorts of places, it never affected my head. Maybe that’s because you have to keep both sides of your body aligned in order to complete the moves smoothly.

Anyway, I had hoped to report promising progress toward sleekness by this time of the year but alas, I’ve flunked out on fitness again. I need someone to create a program like “Write or Die” but with a the opposite effect in mind. Write or die complains when you stop typing and I need one to cheer when I step away from the keyboard. LOL.

Exercise and me have never been the best of pals. Do you have an exercise routine you follow regularly? I’d love hear a very simple plan for staying in shape.


  1. I admire your attempt at the treadmill desk. When I saw that article in the RWA magazine, all I could think is that I'd end up breaking a leg or something else important if I tried something like that :O)
    For me, I'd rather do 30-60 minutes of intense cardio and weights and get it over w/than to spend the most of a day meandering on a treadmill. But then again, that's probably just b/c I don't have any faith in my ability to type and stay upright on one of those contraptions.

  2. Heather, I love hearing about your adventures with the writing treadmill. It's something I'd love to try--but I'm afraid I'd have similar results. And since I've had enough migraines without the added difficulties of trying to type/edit/critique, etc. while walking? I don't know that I'd be brave enough to try it. Particularly when you factor in my general clumsiness. LOL. But I'm glad you tried it. Too bad it didn't work out better for you.

  3. You could always try a tape recorder and record your thoughts while your on the tread mill or walking. I used to walk five miles a day (of course that was years ago) and it's where I got some of my best ideas from. I may try to record my thoughts while walking...someday. LOL.

  4. You are braver than me, Heather! I'm not sure I could mix exercise with writing. I'm not very coordinated. I used to walk a couple miles a day. But those days are in the past. I do need to get back at it. If only we had 4 more hours in the day - I think I could get everything on my "to do" list done.

  5. Heather, I had a treadmill desk too and the same thing happened to me. I could only critique on it and then I started getting dizzy when I used it. Its pieces live under my bed now.

    I'm sure you're beautiful and we will be thrilled to see whatever shape you're in. And I love Suzie's recording idea.

  6. Lisa - I suffered for you. :o) It wasn't pretty. LOL

    Catherine - I'd prefer those migraine affected days back. Until the pain started, I had a great exercise high happening.

    Suzie - LMAO I've never tried recording my thoughts. Transcribing is not one of my skills, but it could work. Whether I'd remember to do it too is another matter.

    Ava - right now, I'm inspired to stay indoors. There's been a huge storm howling overhead all night and its not looking pretty out there. Exercise can wait. Again.

    Clarissa - you're very kind. Thank you.

  7. Heather,

    I feel your pain. I thought I'd be sleeker by now, too. I do go to pilates, and that's about the only consistent thing I do. And really, it's because I like to socialize. Now that the weather is nicer, I like to go for walks in the evening with my husband. He's great foe letting me rattle on and on about whatever comes to my mind. I suspect he isn't hearing a word. ;)