Saturday, April 30, 2011

Thousand-page journey, meet your new first step

So you wanna be a writer? (This also applies to painters, photographers, musicians…)

“There are three rules for writing the novel,” said Somerset Maughm. “Unfortunately no-one knows what they are.”

In fact, though, we all know the first one: put your fanny in a chair, your fingers on a keyboard, and words on the page (or insert your art of choice here).

But it turns out that was the Old Wisdom; now scientists think there might be more to it than just, well, writing.

Along with helping your heart, muscles, and skin tone, exercise is now the front-running domestique in the marathon to a three-book contract.

Experiments over the past couple of decades have found that aerobic activity – either a short burst like dancing around the house for 20 minutes or long-term fitness from a regular program – actually boosts creativity.

One study used measures like colorful and rich imagery, unusual visualization, extending or breaking boundaries, and storytelling articulateness.

So “storytelling articulateness” is not how the average (or even bad) novelist would express it, but the message is clear: move that tush before you settle it in front of the computer. You’ll have more fun and a better tale.

And ultimately, you’ll have a trimmer tail too.

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