Elizabeth: Exercising Creativity

After more than a year of pandemic concerns, political upheaval, and social unrest, my creative brain can best be described as “in deep hibernation.”  Rather than getting words on the page, I’ve been hiding out in old favorite comfort reads and watching rebroadcasts of game shows from the 1970s and 1980s.

Calming, perhaps, but probably not a good long-term strategy.

Now that I’ve been successfully vaccinated and can leave the safety of my living room (theoretically), I’ve begun to try to get back to something approaching normality.  As I mentioned the other day, one of my first changes has been to acquire (second-hand) an elliptical machine like I used to work out on at my office gym.  Now I’ll be the first to admit that I pretty much hate working out (even after years of doing it), but after more than a year with only virtual workout classes available, I have definitely missed the benefits of working out.  Fortunately, the workout equipment shortage from the early days of the pandemic has subsequently turned into burgeoning supply of slightly used exercise equipment.

Thus, I was able to purchase just what I wanted and at a pretty good price.

I’m now three weeks into my new routine, adding another minute to my workout time each day.  After a few days I noticed that, in addition to some newly sore muscles, my brain seemed to be a little clearer and I actually had a creative thought or two.  According to the recent New York Times article Can Exercise Make You More Creative?, that’s not unusual.  Apparently, “active people come up with more and better ideas during tests of their inventiveness than people who are relatively sedentary.

Who knew?

I do know I’ve heard a number of authors talk about their creative processes and more than one has mentioned getting great ideas while out for a run or how, when they get stuck, going for a hike or doing something physical can trigger a solution.  That’s not really surprising since studies have long showed that exercise can increase productivity in many areas of your life, giving you more energy and improving mental capacity.

Who doesn’t want that?

A true test of my slowly awakening creativity occurred this past weekend when my son and I found ourselves brainstorming a new Hallmark Channel story idea.  I used to leave those movies on the television as a bit of background noise, so we’re very familiar with the actors, actresses, and storylines.  We’ve often bounced possible story ideas and amusing titles around and I’m pretty sure this latest idea is both unique and ticks all of the Hallmark standard story element boxes.  It may never get further than the living room, but it was fun to brainstorm and get that burst of creativity.

Proof that it all is not lost!

This week I’ll be adding a few more minutes to my workout time and seeing if I can get a successful writing sprint or two out of it.  Fingers crossed for success in both areas.

So, are you doing anything to boost your creativity or to get back to something approaching “normal” life?

4 thoughts on “Elizabeth: Exercising Creativity

  1. I can feel normal life trying to creep in, but I’m not really encouraging it. I’ve turned down several invitations! I almost can’t believe it.

    My brain used to resolve creative issues in the pool, but the pool’s been out for a while now, and in any event, my last pool closed for good. Walking just doesn’t do it for me creatively, although it’s an easy and low-key exercise option, so I do that. But creatively…yeah, not cutting it.

    One thing that’s been a test of my brain is that I’m working on several aspects of several projects simultaneously. I never used to do that. I’d write a book and finish it and publish it or not, depending on my mood about its suitability for prime time. Now I’m brushing up those old works, or trying to, getting editors and cover designers lined up, all that. It’s fun but disorienting in a way. I’m losing track of the WIP a little bit. Not sure if that’s a good thing. Right now, it’s just a thing.

    Btw, your son sounds like a great person.

    • Thanks, Kay, he is a great person (though I may be biased) 🙂

      As for your simultaneous new style, since you’re getting books finished and published, I’d say that’s working out just fine for you. As a plus, sounds like there is no time to get bored.

  2. I was finally able to return to the gym a couple of weeks ago and, possibly not coincidentally, my book is moving forward again.

    Hallmark does annual open calls for those movies so if you have a story that ticks their boxes and is fresh and original, it’s definitely worth pursuing!

    • Good news on the book moving forward, Jeanne. As for the Hallmark story, it would be hilarious (at least to me) if the idea from “my son the solar manager” made it through the open call process.

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