Believe it or not, there are a few writing tips that we writers can steal from athletes, strategies that show us how to stay in shape and on top of our game.
Athletes work hard even when they’re off the field. They spend hours practicing with their teams. They run miles around the track when nobody else is around. They swim the laps, dunk the balls, and sweep their rackets. They do all this, so when it’s time to play, they’ll steal the show and take home the trophy.
We all went to elementary school, where we learned our ABCs and how to diagram a sentence. In high school, we read the classics and wrote the essays. Now we’ve been let loose on the field. We pen articles, compose poetry, and peck away at novels.
So how do we stay in shape when we’re not dribbling all over the court?
Writing Tips for Good Fitness
Most writing tips address creativity and productivity, but these tips are all about staying fit. After all, fitness isn’t just for athletes. All professionals need to keep their skills toned and eyes on the ball.
- Work out: As a writer, you need to give your language center a good workout every now and then. Read a book or brush up on the rules of grammar. Challenge yourself with a crossword puzzle or a game of Scrabble.
- Gather your equipment: Find good, solid resources that you can use to stay on top of your game. Find a blog or a book, a podcast or a video series. Look for resources and sources of inspiration that will help you build up your weaknesses and maximize your strengths as a writer.
- Do your exercises: If you want to write but don’t know what to write about, then try some writing exercises or prompts. These are also ideal for building your skills and toning underused muscles. In other words, if you’re a fiction writer, do some poetry exercises. If you’re a poet, try some storytelling prompts.
- Show up for practice: Write every day. If you don’t write as part of your job, then set aside ten to twenty minutes for daily writing practice in your journal. Even if you can’t work on your larger projects, you should still write something, anything, every day.
- Game plan: Don’t haphazardly write whenever the fancy strikes you. Think about what you want to write, then develop a game plan: a five- or ten-year strategy to achieve your writing career goals.
- Eyes on the ball: Once you’ve set your goals, revisit them annually, monthly, or better yet, weekly.
- Win the match: Every time you reach a milestone, reward yourself with a trophy. Celebrate your accomplishments, no matter how small. Was that your 100th rejection? Treat yourself to an ice cream cone. Did you just land your first byline? Get a massage. Book deal? Take a vacation.
Those of you who have been visiting Writing Forward for a while know that I am a big advocate for working hard and continuously growing as a writer. The sooner you start working your writer’s muscles, the sooner you’ll be in tip-top shape and on top of your game. Why not start now?
Do you have any writing tips to share? Leave a comment!