How far is your spread?

Yes, you read that right.  Spread, not reach.

Writers are in the enviable position of working in their jammies, snacking on gummy bears whenever the mood strikes them and having their erratic behavior excused as “genius”. 

Where we lose the edge is our seats.  Literally.  The longer we sit, the wider our bums tend to get.  I think there is a direct link to the gummy bears, but I could be wrong.  It might also have to do with the fact that writing uses amazing amounts of brain power, yet does nothing to tone below the neck. 

While it may be a while before I’m ready to compete for the Mrs. Universe Body Building Competition, I think I’ve slowed the spread enough to keep DH from putting me outside with tomorrow’s trash.  Here are a few tricks that have kept my writer’s rear from spreading to the next county. 

  • I walk to the farthest bathroom from where I’m at.  This inevitably means taking a flight of stairs on the way there and back.  It might not sound like much, but I think it helps–especially if I drink copius amounts of liquid.
  • If I snack, I take small portions.  Small means a faster refill.  If I’m still inclined to gobble more goodies, I have to make my way back to the kitchen for seconds.  Sometimes my sheer laziness means less calories consumed. 
  •  I try to change positions often.  A little wiggle burns more calories than a mere finger tap on the keyboards.  I’ve also been known to do a few lunges, jumping jacks or other such silly things just to get the blood flowing again.
  • I like to intersperse my Real Life duties with my writing duties.  This ensures I get up often and move around.  Laundry, bed making and sweeping can burn off gummy bear chub faster than chewing them can.
  • For an added bonus, I sometimes tighten my tummy or tushy.  One of the best exercises for a muscle is to be used.  I know, break-through info here.  But seriously, by contracting your muscles periodically throughout the day and either holding them until you feel the burn or rhythmically releasing and contracting them, you will do far more for your lower body than you can imagine.  And, it’s one of the few exercises you can do while still writing.  Or driving, or talking on the phone, or standing in line at the post office, or eating gummy bears…

What tips and tricks do you have to make your writing day a little more physical? 

*no gummy bears were harmed in the writing of this post*

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17 responses to “How far is your spread?

  1. My biggest tip was for myself: stop eating anything with sugar in it. The Hershey’s Kisses I always took to book signings killed me this winter. It’s going to take me several months to undo the damage.

    • Patricia, I think I may sacrafice the spread for a book signing! But totally understand the Hershey’s Kisses. I don’t buy tootsie rolls for fear of my tummy rolls that will be sure to follow!

      Note to self: stay away from sugar.

  2. It’s not a small investment, but I bought an elliptical machine that I TRY to use every day. It’s not only good for exercise, but when I put my headphones on and go all out, I can think up some good action scenes, something about being active makes it easier to think of other people being active. Of course, then I just have to remember my thoughts until I get to the keyboard again, which can be tricky.

    • Barabara, exercise machines are great–as long as they get used. It’s nice that you can clear your mind and dream great action scenes while elipticalling your way to smaller buns!

  3. Oh I loved that!!! I am now clenching my bun cheeks together in a last ditch effort to stop the spread!

    I have no tricks, the spread, she’s a comin’!!!!!

    • Shawna,

      I swear it works. When I used to drive alot in the car for work, I would squeeze every available muscle for a song at a time!.

      I wonder, is the spread a sign of writer’s accomplishment, like stretch marks equal the miracle of birth? In that case, we should wear our writer’s rears with pride!

  4. I know this may sound like blasphemy, but I actually leave the house and go running.

    I usually get my best story ideas while running, so it works out. (get it?)

    • Oh yes, blasphemy.

      I run when bears chase me, much to DH’s dismay. I do the stairmaster in the morning and my round of 500 sit ups. Running, however, never crosses my mind. I think it’s the physical nature that injects a fresh persepective. Lucky for you, you also get some fresh air and beautiful scenery while doing so.

  5. I am not what anyone would consider a slender reed. But I’ve been steadily shrinking since I quit my office job and started writing full time. I think I’m down three or three and a half sizes over the past two years. I started out with a lot of padding! LOL! The most important thing is that I try to be sure everything I eat is real food. Not processed. I can’t describe how good I feel when I stick to a whole foods diet. When I eat a lot of processed food, I feel exhausted and cranky and my brain gets stupid and my digestion goes wonky and it’s just bad.

    I’ve tried to increase my activity too. It’s gardening season around here pretty much from February to October, and I go for walks so I can take pictures.

    And I do energy work–which isn’t strenuous, but does interesting things with my body. Keeps the chi flowing, if you will.

    Very most important thing, though, is I avoid sugar. I do have honey in my tea, but I almost never eat white sugar. When I want sweets I try to make something myself with honey and/or dried fruit or bananas. I had to work really hard to get past a serious sugar habit though! It took years. I still have to pay attention to what I eat, to make sure I don’t fall back on really bad habits. Of course my body has gotten all fussy now, and if I eat a lot of sugar or processed foods I immediately feel it. And it ain’t pretty.

    Lest you think I have no vices–pshaw. I eat red meat, carbs, and things with fat in. And tea. I can put away some tea. Also sometimes I have coffee, but not usually every day.

    So. My butt isn’t spreading, it’s shrinking, and the novel is still getting written! Hooray! Must be all that clean country livin’.

  6. You crack me up.

    Well, I’m kind of a cheater. I do most of my writing in little segments here and there between work. (I’m not really supposed to be, but sometimes I find some free time on my hands. SOOOO, I’m forced to sit in my chair all day anyway, but every now and then I get up and stretch and walk to the breakroom. I actually decided I’m going to use the physical therapy departments machinery (Yes, it’s allowed) to do a workout after I get off work to compensate for the lack of blood flow whilst I write all da– uh, I mean work all day in my chair. 😛

    • If they have it, use it.

      I was wondering how you were able to fit all your writing in with your job and planning for that wedding and all. Good for you that you get the chance to sneak it in throughout the day.

  7. OH NOSE!!!! I left a parenthesis open, up in my last comment. THE SHAME…

    My OCD is giving me the 1-shoulder-shake as I re-read what I just posted LOL.

    • Doncha love the typos when you can’t take them back? I could be nice and change it for you, but then your last comment wouldn’t make any sense. That and I like to see that I’m not the only one to make goofy mistakes sometimes.

      If it helps, know that I know it was computer error and not writer error : )

  8. Great post! I always use the bathroom on the floor where I’m not. Kids & hubby think I’m nuts, but it works 🙂

    I also walk home from work whenever the weather allows. I usually write on another floor from the kitchen which also helps.

    I’ll try the wiggle 🙂

    • That and the squeeze!

      I would love to walk to work, but my route includes four stops at four different schools on all four sides of town. Seriously, it’s like making the sign of the cross . I would get awfully tired piggy-backing my kids every day….

      Course, then I wouldn’t have to worry about the spread at all!

  9. You are hilarious! What great ideas for burning those calories and shrinking below the neck. I’m sure my before writing and after writing pictures don’t match up. But you gave me a good laugh so that should burn a few, right?

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