How to Lift Your Writing to new Heights – in Just 10 Minutes

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via Write to Done by Mary Jaksch on 10/26/10

By Mary Jaksch

Want to Write Better? I mean, a lot better – in just ten minutes. I'm not talking about some kind of writing Voodoo; I want to show you a no-fail way that can improve your writing dramatically in minutes.
Let's start at the beginning. And that means starting with the brain, because that's the main machine we use for writing. Whether it's having great ideas, or choosing a structure, or dancing with words – it's all to do with brainpower. So a simple way to write better is to boost the performance of your brain.
How to boost brainpower in only 10 minutes?
Here's what made me consider this question:  I was recently in Las Vegas at Blogworld where I spent 5 days in canned air with piped muzak. I tried to write – but my imagination was sluggish and my focus scattered.
When I got back home to New Zealand, I inhaled the pure air deep into my lungs. And I got really excited about raising my fitness. After all, as a writer I tend to sit at my desk a lot. Maybe you do too?
I started an 8-week Fitness Challenge and wrote a post, called Want to be Fit, or even Ultra-Fit? Join the 8-Week Challenge People are joining in droves. (Leo Babauta joined too and is super helpful in the Challenge forum).
As soon as I started cranking up my fitness, my creativity flooded back. It's not only the oxygen that sharpens our skills, what makes a difference is that exercise is a circuit breaker that lifts us out of the writing rut.

Here is how to lift your writing to new heights in 10 minutes

  1. Exercise briskly for 10 minutes
    If possible, exercise outside so that you have a change of environment. Once you're outside, walk briskly or run. If you can't go outside, use whatever is at hand for exercise. For example,  a staircase is a great exercise tool. Run or walk up one flight of stairs. Then take some deep breaths and repeat.
  2. Raise your pulse rate
    It's important to raise your heart rate substantially. When you do that, the mind lets go of worries and preoccupations and focuses on the exercise itself. This means that you can return to writing with a clear mind.
  3. Get out of breath
    Being out of breath is good! Use it as your benchmark for brisk exercise.  When you are 'out of breath' you are gulping huge amounts of oxygen which will refresh your brain.
  4. Be mindful
    When you exercise, leave mp3 player and phone behind. Focus on your present experience. Notice the color of the sky, the ground under your feet, and the sounds around you. When we are mindful (which is really a form of meditation), the mind becomes expansive and open.
  5. Drink water
    At the end of the 10 minutes exercise, drink a couple of glasses of water.  Hydration also helps your brain to function well.
Taking ten minute breaks like this is a great habit. Not only does exercise boost brainpower,   it also acts like a circuit breaker. This is especially helpful if you get stuck with the piece you're writing, or if progress is sluggish.
Once you get back to your desk, remember to sit upright. Good posture helps your mind to focus. That's why most forms of meditation include instructions for upright posture. When the spine is aligned, random thoughts die down and you are less likely to get caught in endless cycles of 'what if' or 'if only' thought patterns, and can open up to your full creativity.
Mary Jaksch is Chief Editor of Write to Done. Read more on her blog Goodlife ZEN. Together with Leo Babauta, Mary runs the A-List Blogger Club, an ongoing training for bloggers that members rave about:
6 months ago my blog and writing was nowhere. Enter the A-List Blogger Club. Since then I've gotten guest posts on big sites (including on Zen Habits), totally rebranded and simplified my site, have begun making money from affiliate sales, launched an ebook, and today my subscriber numbers are over 1,500! When I joined I was at 120. So thank you. You are making dreams come true. – Scott Dinsmore: 'Reading For Your Success'.
Tip: the A-List Blogger Club will close the doors in 5 days time until the end of the year. If you're keen, get in quick.

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