Giving Those Writing Muscles a Workout

Several months ago, my wife decided to pursue a post-graduate degree online. Being that she’d been 15 years removed from a classroom, naturally she felt a bit verklempt about having to write research papers. “How am I supposed to write a research paper?” she asked. No, she didn’t. She didn’t have to: the look on her face betrayed everything. So what’s a husband to do during this time?

Simple: write a few of her papers. SHH! DON’T TELL ANYONE! Look, before you accuse me of being a ringer, let me just defend myself by saying that I raised the idea of writing a few of her papers. She trusts my writing instincts. I can write an academic paper. I can write a technical requirements document. I can write a proposal. I can write a blog. I can write prose.

So what does that have to do with this blog post?

Even though I may only squeeze a few hundred words for my Work in Progress, I don’t ever feel as if I haven’t done any writing for the day. I’m constantly writing, writing something. Some will argue that a writer should only focus on what they’re writing, i.e., a manuscript, but I don’t think that’s very valid.

At the risk of firing off a corny cliché, writing is like exercise: the more you write, the more fit your writing becomes. And like exercise, you have to mix up your workouts in order to get into the best shape possible. I started this blog a few weeks ago as another writing exercise, a writing workout, so to speak. Sometimes you hit the gym and do some weight training. Other times, cardio. Sometimes you want to take a long run. In writing, sometimes a 500-word piece of flash fiction is just the right exercise you need. Other times, it’s a blog post. Other times, it’s a NaNoWriMo challenge. Whatever works.

Blogging has been a constant form of writing exercise for the past 7 years. I would dare say that blogging made me a better writer. Having an audience means keeping that audience’s attention, and doing that means you have only so much times (and can use only so many words) to continue grabbing their attention. I learned to stop rambling, and be more concise. I learned how to properly craft a sentence. And all this happened because I was blogging on a nearly daily basis.

Another form of writing exercise I like to engage in is the review. I know, I know, reviews are like assholes: everyone’s got one. Point taken. The best reviews are the ones that go beyond “Hey, I liked it!” I go for an approach that includes how a book or film or song impacted me. Recently, I’ve gone as far as to take a more dramatic, free-form approach to reviewing. Again, more writing workouts that can only make my writing fitter and healthier.

Whatever it is I’m writing, I’m flexing my writing muscles. And that’s helping my writing out a great deal.

So flex those muscles, my fellow writers. Flex those muscles.

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8 thoughts on “Giving Those Writing Muscles a Workout

  1. Agreed. Though I don’t blog for an audience. I started blogging more as a writer’s or personal journal, which is why I blog anonymously. I still have that rambling problem. I see it as impulsivity though. Sometimes, writing for me is my go-to for coping with strong emotions. I’m trying to be more concise. I see it in your writing. It’s why I like reading your blog. Even your comments impress me. LOL.

    • As long as one person reads my musings, then I have an audience, so, consciously or not, I’m blogging for that audience.

      Hey, I try to make my comments catchy, with enough wit and snark to go around for everyone to enjoy.

  2. Ah, I wish I had the time to write better review. I just told my 12-yr-old she should write a review for a book she read b/c it inspired her to grow her hair out and donate to Locks of Love and as an author, I think that’s something the writer would want to know! She’s all like, well-you don’t write reviews, Mom-you just star them on Good reads. *sigh* I told her, “Do as I say, dear, not as I do.” 🙂

    • I tend to write reviews when I’m inspired to do so, either because I’m read or seen something that’s struck me (good or bad), or I’ve experienced something (good or bad) that I want to share with others. My reviews are also self-indulgent idiocy that seem to only amuse me.

      Better up my meds.

  3. So true! I sometimes get frustrated if I can’t work on my creative writing. If I’m busy with work, then I try to view something at work as creative. I usually end up writing something every day, even if it is for work, so your post is a good reminder to view it all as an opportunity to write.

    • Exactly! I’m constantly writing. Whether it’s one e-mail after another or yet another analysis case I’m working on for my business partners, I’m constantly writing.

      Though I’d rather be writing what I WANT to write.

  4. Yeah, it’s nice when we can have the time to tap into that inner voice of ours. As for writing for an audience, I think it just comes in time. In this world, as artists, people either like what we don’t or they do. That doesn’t mean we should stop making it!

    • My goal is to tap into that inner voice for more than just a few fleeting minutes or hours a day. Regardless, that inner voice keeps talking to me. For example, I was watching “The Lion King” on Blu-Ray w/my daughter earlier, and something about Simba’s reluctance to return to his home sparked a subplot in my story that I’ll poke at for a while.

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