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Using Physical Activity to Banish Writer’s Block


by Jennifer on January 31, 2013

This is a guest post from Bridget Sandorford

Banishing writer’s block isn’t just about using writing prompts and timers to get yourself back into the swing of writing. The type of writer’s block that those methods help to solve is more about having the motivation or the ideas necessary to make it work as a writer.

When what a blocked writer really needs is to calm her mind or to focus her mind on a single idea, those methods typically backfire because they just send the writer into a frenzy of writing without purpose. Instead, you can use physical movement to help you alleviate this type of writer’s block.

Take Short Walks

When you need to calm your mind, a quick 10-minute walk often does the trick. Sometimes creative people can become anxious when preparing to do their work.

Instead of writing, you may find yourself staring at your screen, fretting about the work that you have to do. Walking will give you the chance to put all of those thoughts in some type of order, determining what work is most important and how you will proceed when you return to your computer.

Do Jumping Jacks

Doing some type of intense cardio for a short burst can help to focus you when there are too many ideas floating around. Jumping jacks aren’t the only choice. Jogging in place for 30 seconds or even sprinting across the room, as silly as you may feel, can help.

The idea is to force your focus to move from the many writing-related ideas in your head to your body. Once you’re done, the writing ideas should settle, leaving only one or two occupying center stage in your mind.


Sitting in front of a computer for hours on end makes our backs hurt and muscles get tense. When you’re in pain, your focus moves from writing to thinking about the muscle twitch in their leg or the slight pain in the small of the back.

When you hit this point, your writing suffers because you are focusing on it only for a few seconds at a time. The best answer is to stretch.

Take 10 minutes and really stretch out all of your muscles. Stand up and touch your toes or do slow lunges. Lift your arms over your head and then stretch them to each side.

Get rid of those niggling physical aches and pains can help you return to your writing without losing focus.

How do you use physical movement to banish your writer’s block?

About the Author: Bridget Sandorford is a grant researcher and writer for CulinarySchools.org. Along with her passion for whipping up recipes that incorporate “superfoods”, she recently finished research on culinary schools in Illinois and culinary schools in Orlando, Fla.

Image courtesy of Tony Alter

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Tyrean January 31, 2013 at 10:41 am

Thanks for this reminder to get up and move regularly!! Sometimes if I don’t get myself moving, my dogs and my cat do. My cat expects me to spend some time on the exercise mat. (My stretch time coincides with her attention time). My dogs expect me to walk them. So if I don’t remember, they will.

2 Kyon February 3, 2013 at 3:08 am

Thanks good tips, maybe that’s why when I was in cross country I seemed to write more even though I was more tired.

3 Debi February 14, 2013 at 7:45 am

Thanks for the reminder. It’s so simple to stretch yet it can be so overlooked. I’m back in school and have countless papers and speeches to write and forgetting to stretch is at the top of my list of things to not do. But I live in a dorm and can easily put on a short 6 minute workout video and exercise but I don’t. I’m going to start today to do something physical at least once every hour.

4 Jennifer February 15, 2013 at 10:21 am

Awesome! It’s definitely good to move your body as much as possible. Us writers spend a lot of time sitting, so a lot of standing and movement is needed to balance it out. Also, if you live on a college campus, you probably have access to a campus gym, so look into that too.

5 Bonnie March 3, 2013 at 11:41 am

yeah! How about a 24 yr old man, at home, cleaning his own room? Or doing his two week laundry? Or changing his 2 week bedding and towel? Or dusting the furtnite in his room?

Isa that enough exercise?

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