My two favorite things to do on Saturday morning, after I’ve had my coffee, is to write a few pages and then go to the gym for a few hours. It occurred to me this morning that there are quite a few similarities between the two activities. Let me explain:
- Hygiene: Powerlifting is an important part of my physical hygiene. Writing is an equally important part of mental hygiene. Both activities are “me time” and are essential to my well-being. Mens sana in corpore sano.
- Writing is a “muscle”. You need to practice the craft the same way you practice a musical instrument or train for sports. Use it or lose it. You need to get into “writing” shape. There is no substitute for repetition and time behind the keyboard. By the time I left university I was a straight-up beast at quickly formulating and executing cogent answers to exam essay questions. Why? Training, years of training. I’m not as good at as I used to be because I’m “detrained” by decades of corporate emailing.
- Writing trains one to organize their thoughts and express them in (ideally) a clear, concise manner. Powerlifting trains the practitioner to lift increasingly heavier weights in the most technically efficient manner possible. Organization (aka programming for powerlifters), technique and clarity (physical/mental) are required to succeed in both activities.
- Not writing for extended periods makes one mentally flabby as not training for extended periods makes one physically flabby. You can get back into shape physically or mentally, but you’ll need the humility to put in the work again. Luckily, actual memory – and muscle memory – mean that you regain your former level quicker.
- Writing stimulates creativity. Repetition builds the neural pathways that foster more complex, coordinated thought and writing. This, of course, sounds very similar to sport specific training. Strength training, not to state the glaringly obvious, makes one physically stronger, more vital. Both activities therefore improve ones’ general quality of life.
Anyway, that’s my two cents for this morning. Coffee is finished, I have to go to the gym. Today’s programming includes some “slingshot max’s” and static holds of big-ass weight on bench. Should be interesting.