This weekend I am presenting an author talk entitled, The Writer’s Workout: The Athletics of Writing. The basis of the talk is that if we treated our writing hobbies/habits/careers the way we treat our athletic endeavors, we would dramatically increase our success.
During the presentation I will share several insights from my own athletic past, and also tons of ways to implement helpful tips, techniques and resources into your writing life.
All this of thinking and reminiscing about my days in the gym got me feeling a little nostalgic, and thus, the below thoughts were inspired. Happy reading and happy writing!
Before a gymnastics meet begins, competitors are given time to warm up on each event. While each of the four events require a performance, no where is this more true than on the floor exercise. For one minute and thirty seconds, each gymnast must tumble, jump, dance, and execute a variety of skills. Scores are given based on particular requirements that are fulfilled, levels of difficulty reached, and the degree of excellence those skills are performed.
Judges have very little, if any room, for subjective scores. But it is easy to separate the good gymnasts from the great. You don’t even need to be a judge to pick out the ROCKSTAR competitors. It is the gymnasts who smile, the girls with a flair for the dramatic, the extra pinch of sass whey they hit their final pose, that win over the crowd.
But how do you get “there”, to that place of fiery passion? How do you emotionally engage in a performance with only ten minutes to warm up? Often before lunch time?
Many teams do this with music. The playlist changes every year, based on what’s popular, or what strikes a chord in the team, their journey, their mission, their will to win. My junior year, probably my most memorable season of my gymnastics career, our song was “In a Hurry” by Alabama. We had goals to achieve and dreams to live out, and we weren’t really all that interested in waiting around for it to happen. We wanted success and we wanted it now.
We took second in state that year, a disappointing accomplishment (in our eyes at the time). But I would bet, that even today, if any of my teammates heard the first few bars of our song… that they would smile, and their hearts would beat a little harder. I’m willing to wager that they’d even feel a little itch to jiggle their legs or shake out the nerves that have suddenly, unexpectedly gathered in their arms and hands.
What magic is this? What force inspires memories and feelings to come rushing to the surface in such a fierce force that we humans feel its power physically course through our bodies?
And how, does this apply to writing? I'm glad you asked.
Some authors create playlists for the novels they write. The songs they select embody the mood, emotion, message and theme of their written work, and listening to the songs while creating that particular story enhances their ability to do so.
Want to see what I mean?
I often listen to music as I write. (Instrumental only… words are too distracting while I work.) My favorite playlist is Epic Movie Soundtracks on YouTube. Something about the masterpieces used to accentuate cinematic climax moments gets into my blood, helping me to write better, faster, with more edge and emotion. It’s fantastic and I highly recommend giving this technique a try. If not with my musical preference, one of your own.
But that’s not the playlist I’d like to share with you today.
Today I want to share a list of songs with powerful, positive messages that pump me up. As I move forward into partially self-employed territory, I need these songs. They are my motivation. My daily pep talk. Writing is now my sport. I guess I’ll have to add linguistic-athlete to my word-nerd title and identity.
What songs fire you up? What music helps your creative juices flow more freely? Share your favorites in the comments below and I'll compile a super playlist for us all to enjoy. :)
Until next time word nerds, happy writing!