Creativity block is something that all writers experience.
Having writer’s block could mean sitting for hours, staring into space without fresh ideas. This means being unable to get into the flow of a current project.
It can be extremely frustrating, especially if you need to meet deadlines need, or you are looking forward to having a productive day. Somehow, you are distracted with so many thoughts except those you need to focus on.
Author and historian Susan Reynolds offers an interesting view of creativity block, particularly concerning writing. “Writing is a mentally challenging occupation, which requires more hard-core, cognitive expenditure than many other lines of work,” she writes on a Psychology Today article.
Physical fitness directly impacts your ability to take the cognitive load to write.
Personally, when I feel blocked, I feel better after getting out of the house and taking a stroll around the neighborhood. I usually go out for a walk after breakfast — social distancing precautions, and all. I come back refreshed and eager to start writing.
Do physical activities have some magical effect on the mind, allowing it to think and focus more? Does this mean that exercise can play a significant role in creative thinking?
When you exercise, you break the routine
At your desk in front of your computer, everything is familiar to you.
The environment is the same. You look around, and you see what has always been there, day-in and day-out.
If you get out of that position and take it outside for a brisk walk or run, you become transported somewhere else, both physically and mentally. You are alone with your thoughts. Your mind may have been empty when you stepped out, but other ideas crop up since you are no longer distracted by the usual.
“Take the pressure off of your writing while you do something else that pleases you creatively,” says writer, editor, and creativity coach Miranda Hershey in a Psych Central article by Margarita Tartarovsky, MS.
Regular routines have a way of burning us out. Exercising can provide the break that you badly need to recharge and refuel your creative juices.
Your mind is more active when you are physically active
Physical activity and exercising keeps your mind alert and energetic too. When you feel sluggish, there is no way you can expect to come up with anything creative, whether with writing or any other activity.
You need to be mentally alert so you can focus better. To be more creative with your writing, you need to be able to concentrate.
Exercise is known to boost memory. It revitalizes certain chemicals in your brain that have a direct impact on your thinking and learning abilities.
Research from the University of British Columbia has found that regular aerobic exercise appears to boost the size of the hippocampus, the brain area involved in verbal memory and learning.
“[E]xercise improves mood and sleep and reduces stress and anxiety. Problems in these areas frequently cause or contribute to cognitive impairment,” writes Heidi Godman, Executive Editor at Harvard Health Letter.
Imagine how you feel when you have just completed a particular exercise. It is funny how getting involved in strenuous activities can make you feel more energetic afterward. You feel that adrenalin rush, which is vital in coming up with even more ideas for your writing.
Exercising makes you happy
When you exercise, you feel a sense of achievement from completing a workout. More than that, exercise triggers the release of feel-good chemicals known as endorphins and thus contributes to an improved physical and mental sense of well-being.
You can sleep better, which is essential to thinking clearly. Your mood is also greatly improved. When that happens, you are in the right frame of mind to be more creative. Your mind overflows with ideas that you can’t wait to put down.
Exercise is an excellent stress-buster
Anxiety and stress can keep you from being productive. By exercising, you allow yourself to get rid of negative emotions that can hold you back from accomplishing what you want to do.
Physical activities can enhance your mood and keep you positive, which helps you get into the flow of writing or any other creative work.
There are many reasons why you should make exercise a part of your life.
On the surface level, you might want to look good. Behind this more obvious reason are the more significant ones — decreasing your chances of developing life-threatening diseases like heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure, and the list goes on.
For a writer, exercising works on the brain. You want to maintain focus, establish flow, and find solutions. Exercising contributes toward these goals, whether you use it as a meaningful distraction, as a way to discover ideas, or as a means of influencing your brain’s chemistry toward better productivity.