My son started school the day after Labor Day. It was a red-letter day for him and for me. He went off to school and I…went for a run in the park.
After I ran and showered and ate I finally sat down at my desk.
I wrote in my journal.
I wrote on my computer.
Since then I’ve been trying to figure out how to do even more writing. I’d have more time to write if I didn’t exercise every day, but it turns out, now that I have the freedom to do it, I really want to exercise. I run, swim, or do yoga just about every day my son is in school.
When I exercise regularly, I have more energy to write, and I can stay up a little later and get a little done after my son goes to bed.
When I think back to medical school, exercise is what got me through. Everyone did something besides study medicine—some of my classmates cooked gourmet meals, some played video games, and some, like me, exercised. It was a respite from the grind and it always recharged me.
So my new writing life includes daily exercise. Sometimes it gives me thinking time (like when I run) and sometimes it gives me the chance to “not think,” if you know what I mean (like when I’m doing Wheel in yoga class,) but it always gives me energy and makes me feel more like myself.
When I’m most authentic, the words I write are authentic, too. Not necessarily true, as I’ve started back on my fiction, but true to me.
Once again I’ve had to give up on being the person I want to be to be the person I am. I’d love to be someone who writes for six hours at a time, stopping only when it’s time to pick up my son from school, but that’s not me (at least not now.)
Now I’m someone who sits down to write for a couple of hours (or even one) most days, after getting dinner organized and going for a run.
That’s a person I can live with.
Who are you as a writer and what to do you need in order to sit down at your desk?
Diane MacKinnon, MD: is a writer, blogger, master life coach, and family physician. I’m hosting a One Day Writing Retreat on October 17th, in Nashua, NH. If you’d like some time to work on your writing project in a comfortable setting with like-minded individuals (ie, other writers!) please join us. For more information, click here.