Word of the Month: Exercise
Now I’m no athlete, that’s for sure, but maintaining a degree of physical fitness is important to me. I’m fortunate and grateful to be in good health and of course I’d like to keep it that way. So taking time out of my working day at the writing desk for some daily exercise seems to me to be a no-brainer.
And my go-to form of exercise is definitely walking. I get out for a walk most days and usually walk for an hour or so. I’m lucky enough to live in a lovely Scottish village with woodland, riverside, hill and country track walks on my doorstep. So it’s no hardship to get out walking and I really don’t have to force myself to do it. In fact I miss it if other stuff gets in the way and I can’t get those vital steps done.
However, the walking thing isn’t only about getting my heart pumping and keeping those muscles and bones strong. It’s about my mental health and my creativity levels too.
For me, nothing beats a brisk walk for working off all those pesky stress hormones. Walking in the outdoors, hearing the birds sing, seeing the sky, the trees, and feeling the sun, wind, or even the rain (I’m in Scotland remember), all help to clear the head and lift the spirits.
But as well as the physical and mental benefits, I’ve found there’s a third benefit to be had. I’ve discovered that the creative part of my brain likes a walk too. I’ve lost count of the number of times when, while out for a walk, I’ve solved that pesky problem I’ve been having with the plot of the novel I’m working on at the time. Or I might have a light bulb moment about a character or a tricky piece of dialogue. And, I have to say, I’m rarely actively thinking about my writing when these breakthroughs and ideas pop into my head. It just happens.
So, yes, here’s to exercise and its multiple benefits.
And speaking of writing, I’m busy doing the final quarter of the current work-in-progress – and I’m loving how the story is unfolding. The working title is Happiness Cottage. It’s a contemporary romance – of course – and it’s set in a fictional village the Scottish Borders. I’m intending for it to be the first in a series of books all set in the same place with a different main couple in each. So although the books to come will all be able to be read as standalones, there will be a chance for series followers to catch up with characters they’ve met in previous books.
I’m enjoying the sparks that go off whenever grumpy farmer Aidan is with Australian visitor Lori and can’t wait to right the romantic ending.
However, setting up a series and inventing a whole community including a village and its neighbouring town is quite a challenge. But more about both these aspects in future posts.
Another great form of exercise in terms of our brains is, of course, reading. Along with the walking, and the writing it’s another thing I couldn’t do without and I always like to share the best of the books I’ve been reading here on the blog. And this month it’s a shout out for An Italian Island Summer by Sue Moorcroft, a favourite author of mine. Safe to say I loved it. I loved the Sicilian island setting, the two troubled main characters and the oh so romantic story. I can highly recommend this book as the perfect summer read.
From the back cover:
Will one summer in Sicily change her life for ever?
After her marriage falls apart, Ursula Quinn is offered the chance to spend the summer working at a hotel on a beautiful island off the coast of Sicily, Italy. Excited by a new adventure, she sets off at once.
At Residenza dei Tringali, Ursula receives a warm welcome from everyone except Alfio, son of the Tringali family. He gave up his life in Barcelona to help his mother Agata with the ailing business, and is frustrated with Ursula’s interference – and she in turn is less than impressed with his attitude. As they spend more time together, though, they begin to see each other in a different light.
But what with Ursula’s ex-husband on her tail, family secrets surfacing and an unexpected offer that makes Alfio question his whole life, there’s plenty to distract them from one another. Can she face her past and he his future, and together make the most of their Sicilian summer?
It’s available in paperback and ebook in bookshops and online.
So, yes, for me as writer and as a human being exercise in all its forms – whether it be for the body, mind or the imagination are all vital.
As always feel free to comment below with your thoughts on exercise or anything else you’d like to respond to from this post. And thank you for reading!
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