Writing Advice: Training


I believe I’ve written on here before about the importance of the brain to all writers. The brain is, of course, our most important muscle. The brain is where we come up with crazy ideas, develop them into even crazier ideas, and then find some way of putting them down into a readable format. One could probably say, in fact, that the brain is important to writers in the way that leg muscles are important to Olympic runners. Or arm muscle and discus throwers. Or swimmers and their lungs. Any athlete analogy will do, really, because today’s post is about keeping yourself in shape when it comes to writing.

I recently came across a great quote from Susan Sontag’s musings on writing thanks to a post from Brainpickings. One of her journal entries notes, “A writer, like an athlete, must ‘train’ every day. What did I do today to keep in ‘form’? (7/5/72)” I had never thought about writing in this way before, but I really like the way she’s described it here. The main thing to remember when working on your writing is, simply, to do it. Practice makes perfect when it comes to writing, so keeping “in form” means — mostly — writing every day.

However, when athletes are training to stay in good form, they don’t practice their specific sport exclusively. They also lift weights and exercise their body to enhance their performance. So, too, writers must do other ancillary activities in addition to their daily writing. This means planning out future stories, doing any research that you might need to do, read other authors’ work, and brainstorm ideas for future stories or essays or poems. All of this is important to the writer’s regimen. The most important think to remember is to practice writing in some way every day to keep “in form.”

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan


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