Writing with Exercises Part 3

This post is a continuation from part 1 and part 2. I have been asking writers whether exercising influences their writing. Does the discipline of the exercise transfer to the mind, to writing? Does it matter is the activity is solo or team-based? Do they write about their sport? This week I spoke with Leyna Krow:

leyna“When I first learned how to juggle, it seemed to me that the essential problem was that the balls moved too fast. If I caught them all, I was lucky. If I was lucky enough times in a row, that was gratifying, and so I kept going. But more often than not I was not lucky and one or more balls fell on the ground and I had to go chase after them. After enough hours of this though, I felt as if the balls had slowed down. Obviously, this wasn’t really the case because of, you know, physics. But it seemed that way. I could see where each one was going and move my hands to anticipate it. This gave me the power to change things up, try new moves, get fancy, etc.

In this way, juggling, for me, is a lot like writing.

“I used to feel like I actually didn’t have a whole lot of control over what I wrote. Sometimes I wrote a story that seemed good, and that was gratifying and I kept going. Other times I wrote a story that was not good and I didn’t know why or how to fix it. But then grad school, and hours and hours of practice, made the balls (metaphorical this time) slow down. Now, I feel like I have the power to manipulate stories in the way I want, try new moves, get fancy, etc. Some of this has to do with knowledge, but more than anything, I think, it’s from practice – from having done the process over and over enough to demystify it.

“I don’t write about juggling. But sometimes I do juggle while I write. If I’m stuck and thinking something over, I’ll stand up from my computer and juggle for a few minutes. Alone. Silently. With probably a very serious expression on my face. So that’s kind of weird, I guess. Really though, it’s just a way of forcing my mind to do something else, and more often than not it helps.”

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