Getting Your Brain and Body Ready to Write
No sprinter in their right mind would ever jump into the starting block at a race without a thorough warm-up.
Between jogging, stretching, event-specific drills, and more, the sprinter’s warm-up routine is typically far more intense and lengthier than the actual race itself, which can be over in a matter of seconds. There’s good reason for all this pre-race work and it goes beyond injury prevention. The warm-up is critical for preparing the sprinter for what is to come, not just physically, but mentally as well. The proper warm-up should not only contribute to more power and speed, but also help calm nerves, stabilize adrenaline, and focus the mind.
This all makes complete sense to me, especially as an aging workout-aholic. If I didn’t foam roll and do dynamic stretches before hitting the weights and cardio, I would literally break in half.
And, yet, I regularly plop myself down in front of the computer and think, “Time to write!” without any prep work for my body or mind. Without the proper writer’s warm-up, I shouldn’t be surprised when the words only slowly dribble out onto the page and my brain seems to be either racing or completely on empty.
So, @karen, did a little self-reflection on what would put me in the right frame of mind for writing. And then I did some research on other writer’s best warm-up practices. Below is the result – nine super easy ideas for making sure that when you and I get in the starting blocks for our next writing project that we are primed and ready to GO!
1. Get A Good Night’s Sleep – 8 hours is optimal for grown adults like us and anything less than 6 per night on average is probably resulting in a sluggish brain and body.
2. Jump In The Shower – Don’t let your own B.O. be a distraction from writing great content! Also, a shower (or bath) before writing can relax and refresh your body and mind.
3. Move Around – Exercising before your writing day starts can help the brain work more creatively. It’s as important, though, to make sure you continue to be physical throughout the day; every 20 minutes or so walk around the office, try some yoga poses, or do some pushups, sit-ups, and squats (yes, really!)
4. Eat A Healthy Meal – Think lots of veggies & fruits, whole grains, and some protein, and, nope, a bar or shake does not cut it.
5. Knock Out Any Small Stuff First – Give yourself a specific amount of time to check off any small personal and professional “to dos” that are nagging at you; if you don’t, then you’ll be thinking about them all day while you’re trying to focus on writing.
6. Have Plenty Of Liquids All Day – Always have a tall glass of H20 within reach. After all, your brain is 80% water and this nutrient is essential for neurological transmissions (mic drop).
7. Wear Layers – Maybe it’s just me, but if my writing is flowing, I can feel my body temperature rising throughout the day, so it’s nice to be able to peel off a sweatshirt rather than sit there and sweat. In fact, it can be a nice cool rush to the mind and body when you take off a layer or two.
8. Get A Caffeine Boost – I actually wait to have my one daily cup of coffee until I’m about to write because I simply love the jumpstart it gives my brain. There’s no shame in that!
9. Clean Up Your Work Area – If you’re trying to write with clutter all around you, then it’s likely your mind is cluttered too. Plus, isn’t it distracting to can see all those other things you need to do out of the corner of your eye as you write? Permission to just shove everything in a closet or drawer!
10. Put On Some Background Music – Studies have shown that music soothes and relaxes while working, improves focus, aids in endurance, creates a positive mood, and boosts memory formation. If you’re looking to set just the right writing mood, I recommend the Spotify “Peace” channel.
Have any other writing warm-up ideas that you think should be added to this list? We would love to hear from you!
Author's Note: This article was originally written in my role as Chief Content Officer for Lisa Baker Associates.