The early months of 2014 were not ideal fitness months for me. I wasn’t working out as regularly or intensively as I should have been. For the summer, I’ve made a commitment to get myself back into physical shape, which includes using interval training.
Interval training involves adding periods of higher intensity at certain points throughout a workout. For example, runners might run at a measured pace for fifteen-minute intervals, run at top speed for two minutes, then return to their trotting pace for another fifteen minutes, etc. Weight lifters might alternate between heavier and lighter weights, and add extra repetitions for certain exercises to push their muscles to the limit for brief periods of time.
Since I am also working on toning up my flabby creative muscles this summer, this past week I experimented with applying interval training to my writing sessions. If you are a long-time 8LW reader, you might recall that we issued timed word-count challenges during NaNoWriMo last November. Several of us got high word counts during those challenges, but we had mixed results with the products of those labors. This time, increasing word count for timed intervals wasn’t the goal; it was a tool.
During a few of my afternoon writing sessions this past week, I scheduled an alarm to beep a the two-hour mark, at which point I reset the alarm for 15 minutes, turned off my inner editor, and wrote as quickly as I could. I had to stay on point and within whatever scene I was writing, so these bursts weren’t ‘free writing’ exercises as the NaNo challenges sometimes were. But these mini-challenges kept the sessions interesting and by the end of the week, I found myself thinking faster as the two-hour mark approached and my mind prepared itself to work faster.
As I amp up my creativity training, I’m hoping to build up my endurance so I can write 5 days a week with ease, without feeling overwhelmed or tired or bored with my story. Apparently, I respond well to challenges, even if i issue them myself, so I’m going to add more high-intensity writing bursts over the next few weeks as I finish up draft two of My Girls. What are some of your favorite challenges, exercises, or approaches you use to amp up your creativity?