WritersButt

Back in October, one of my good friends and fellow critique partner, Linda Gerber, approached me about a project. The idea was to help writers, who often sit at their desks or huddled someplace with a laptop nestled on their knees, to get up and move and become healthier. But, more than the goal of achieving a higher level of fitness (which should always be at the top of a priority list!), including a regular fitness routine into your daily life can improve your mental output and make your creativity soar!

Why did Linda approach me for this project? I have no idea.  Kidding!  I think I know. I am a fellow writer but I’m also a certified fitness trainer (CrossFit Level 1).  My husband and I own and operate CrossFit Georgetown, a strength and conditioning gym in my hometown. Since Oct. Linda has been the beta-tester for WritersButt with the idea that we’d launch at the beginning of the New Year.

And here we are!

 

New Years Resolutions are flying all over the place as they usually do with the dawn of a new year. On the majority of those lists is some item relating to getting healthier. Also on many of the lists I’ve read, especially from my writer friends, is to be more productive, write more stories, do more projects, blog more, publish more books!

WritersButt is going to help.  It is going to connect physical activity to creative output. This will undoubtedly improve one’s fitness and in turn help anyone to focus better and tap into a higher cognitive level.  It’s like the kids who can’t focus in class but after recess or P.E. they are able to settle their mind and get some work done.

“For artists, entrepreneurs, and any other driven creators, exercise is a powerful tool in the quest to help transform the persistent uncertainty, fear, and anxiety that accompanies the quest to create from a source of suffering into something less toxic, then potentially even into fuel.” Quoted from this great article titled The Creative Brain on Exercise:

Now listen, I suspect many of you are already saying; “I don’t have time to exercise.” or “I can’t take away writing time to work out.”  What I’m proposing is that you don’t have time NOT to.

The physical state of our bodies can either serve or subvert the quest to create genius. We all know this intuitively. But with rare exceptions, because life seems to value output over the humanity of the process and the ability to sustain genius, attention to health, fitness, and exercise almost always take a back seat. That’s tragic. Choosing art over health rather than art fueled by health kills you faster; it also makes the process so much more miserable and leads to poorer, slower, less innovative, and shallower creative output.” Quote again from The Creative Brain on Exercise.

Important note: The project is called WritersButt but you don’t have to be a writer to join in. Anyone who wants to be healthier and is struggling with how to incorporate physical fitness into his or her day will benefit.  It can just as easily be called AccountantsButt, TeachersButt, ProgrammersButt. The idea is to physically get up OFF your butt and move your body to reap the physical health benefits as well as the mental and emotional ones.

Some questions you may have right about now:

What is WritersButt going to do?

We are going to show you how to implement physical activity into your daily life. This will NOT be time intensive.  We are going to work smarter, not longer.

Will it involve ‘dieting’?

The food you consume every day is your diet, so you are ‘dieting’ but I know what you mean. 😉 I will be suggesting some healthy food choices and a diet that will boost your energy, keep your insulin in check (combat mood swings and energy-crashes) and will promote fat loss.

Do I have to join a gym?

No! Everything I’ll be suggesting can be done in your home and will almost never take longer than about 10 minutes. You will not need machines because you’ll learn to appreciate your body as a machine. Your body is what gets your around your home and town, your body participates in various activities, your body is what you put your clothes on … let’s get it functioning at a higher level!

How will all the cool WritersButt people communicate?

This is my favorite part! First, I plan to blog here on my blog every Wednesday about WritersButt.  I will give you a weekly challenge. I might share a recipe and any online sources I’ve run across that might be of interest. Second, much of our chatter will take place on Twitter using the hashtag #writersbutt.  I have already set up a column on my Tweetdeck so I don’t miss any questions you might have. I also want to cheer on your success, so don’t be shy! Third, it’s my plan in the next week or two to create a Facebook page for us so that we can chat in excess of 140 characters.  🙂  We can also share pictures. (Don’t gasp – I won’t MAKE you!) I think the WritersButt FB page will be a huge hub for us.

Finally, you may be wondering, how do we start?  Yay!  It’s time for your first weekly challenge. I’m going to ask 3 things of you this week to get you going. Stay with me here, I’m not going to make you run a marathon or do any cage-fighting.  But, if you DO any cage fighting, I want you to Tweet the pictures to prove it!

Week 1:

  1. Drink 100 oz of water a day.  YES—I said 100.  Find a water bottle that shows you the ounces.  Lately I’ve been using the one shown.  It is 20 oz and on the side it has a counter so every time I fill it up, I move it over to the next number. I know I have to hit 5 by the end of the day.   
  2. 10 squats every time you go to the bathroom. If you are not used to drinking this much water, you will be going to the bathroom a LOT. (Your body will adjust to this but be prepared to pee-pee quite a bit for a few days.)  Because you’ll be in the bathroom a lot, after you are finished, and after you close the lid to the potty, I want you to sit down and stand up from the toilet 10 times. Obviously if you have a low stool in your bathroom or house, you can use that. A kitchen chair might be taller than I’d like. I’m choosing the toilet not to gross you out but because I KNOW you’ll be in there a lot and I want you to get a lot of squatting done. I’m sneaky that way.
  3. Write 3-5 ‘Gratitudes’ into a journal every night before bed. What the heck does this have to do with fitness? We’re not just working on our bodies; we are also hoping to increase our mental and even our emotional fitness as well.

“…exercise isn’t just about physical health and appearance. It also has a profound effect on your brain chemistry, physiology, and neuroplasticity (the ability of the brain to literally rewire itself). It affects not only your ability to think, create, and solve, but your mood and ability to lean into uncertainty, risk, judgment, and anxiety in a substantial, measurable way, …”  ~quote~

I’ve kept a gratitude journal before and it had a profound effect on my appreciation of everything around me throughout the day. Just try it!  Hey, I’m giving you an excuse to go to the office supply aisle and buy a brandy-new notebook and even a cool pen. You’re welcome!

That’s it!  Doable for the first week, right?  Also, I will be doing this with you so rest assured I’ll be walking the WritersButt journey right along any of you who want to join in.  I think we’re going to have a lot of fun, make friends, improve our fitness, our moods, our productivity and our creativity will be able to spread its wings and soar with abandon.

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About Ginger Calem

I never met a notebook I didn't want to buy. Pens speak to me. Sticky notes are dear to my heart. Some of my best friends are those clambering in my head trying to get onto the page. And when they have their stories told, and I release them to the world, I hope they'll be your friends too.

Posted on January 4, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 73 Comments.

  1. Gotta confess – totally honesty here – I read the bit about how I must take the time to do this and I thought “huh. Right. I seriously have zero time. But the week one steps you’ve laid out? I can do that! Relieved and encouraged! Woohoo!

  2. Fantastic idea – so far it all seems doable. I’m off to clear away the empty coffee cups littering my desk and measure out 3 litres !! of water.

  3. I’m in, Ginger! I SO need this.

  4. This is an awesome idea!! I tend to get so absorbed in writing and/or reading that I forget about working out. Little ideas like this are perfect!! 🙂

    • Exactly! Most people think they have to spend an hour or more to workout. They don’t know for sure what to do and they are ‘busy’ at home. (Aren’t we all?) This is to help show everyone that you can incorporate physical fitness in every day and you will barely notice the time-input. Welcome to the fun!!

  5. And we thought you fell off the planet! lol You have been a busy girl Ginger! What a fantastic idea! Writer’s butt. I joke about that all the time, although I have been blessed with a petite body. But as I get older, everything is heading south I’m afraid.

    Exercise has always been a challenge for me because I’ve suffered with CFS for longer than I can remember and low adrenal function. So I have to be careful, but I do own an elliptical and I love that machine, if I use it. And that is one of my ROW80 goals, to get on that thing. I have been walking though and I love it. I drag my poor husband around so he can get some circulation in is body. It can’t be good for him to be sitting around either.

    I will have to check in with you on Wednesdays. Thank you! 🙂

    • Hi Karen. Well, I hung on the edge of the earth and pulled myself back into circulation. 🙂 It must be so hard to suffer w/ CFS. Have you tried weight training? If so, did you have good results? Weight training gives you a far different hormonal response than a longer sustained-effort exercise, such as an elliptical. And by weight training, that includes body-weight, such as the ‘potty-squats’ I assigned. And push ups in addition to movements using extra weight, like a dumbbell, barbell, medicine ball or kettlebell, etc. Anyway, more info that you likely wanted. If you haven’t tried some of these things, and they are advisable with CFS, might be worth the experiment.

      Oh, and I know all about the ‘heading south’ thing. Dang!

      You have the right idea. Movement, circulation, get that heart rate going … all good!!

  6. I had no idea you were so sneaky, Ginger. drink water and then squat when I pee? that is bad. but worth trying, me thinks. I couldn’t take on an exercise regime but I can squat. i’m in

  7. This sounds like a really good way to keep motivated and hold ourselves accountable. I have just recently been working on balance in my life, including with exercise. I used to workout too much and I thought that I had to work for 2 hours a day five days a week to count it as exercise. So, now I go to the gym three times a week for no more than an hour. I try to walk outside on the weekends and I may try a yoga class eventually. I am in on the writersbutt because I think it will keep me exercising!

    • You are 100% correct right that it’s balance. And it can go both ways, as you found out, with working out TOO much. Your body needs rest and recovery. But every single body on earth also needs movement and effort. Sweating and hard work is good and it doesn’t have to take all day. Thrilled you’re with us!

  8. I’m in. Thanks for sharing your expertise, Ginger! Much appreciated.

  9. I’m in, too. You’re on to something important here, Ginger.

    • Thank you so much, Pat. I value your input and your comment really made me feel great. I can’t take all credit. Linda Gerber come up the idea and together we’ve hashed around the way to implement it. I hope we create a writersbutt movement! (giggle–“writersbutt movement” … wow–what have we started?)

  10. Wonderful idea, Ginger. It’s a good thing I’m already subscribed to your blog. 🙂

    Drink, pee, squat, gratitude. I’m in with you.

  11. Hey Ginger! Absolutely fabulous idea. And in no way “extreme.” 😉 Are you doing the #writersbutt hashtag on Twitter too?

    • Hi Kecia. Yes we’re #writersbutt on Twitter. Soon hope to have the FB page. We’re starting with some basic, easy to implement, changes and then we’ll add in some other stuff as we go along. Going to ‘ease’ into it. 🙂

  12. LOL! Love this idea, Ginger. But what do I say when someone knocks on the bathroom door? Not now, honey, I’m squatting?! Count me in.

    • haha! I think that response it perfect. Might get some raised eyebrows. I guess you could say, “hang on, I’m working out” but maybe higher eyebrows on that one. 😉

  13. Shannon Esposito

    I’m in! The thing that’s really cool about this for me is that you all are writers, too so we aren’t just sharing squats, we’re sharing the same time management challenges! Thanks for putting this together, Ginger!

  14. Julie O'Connell

    And when do I do the Kegels to make sure I don’t…umm…well, go through eight pairs of undies a day from doing squats? Oh, I’ll do those as I’m working. I get it.
    Off to find a water bottle. Dang it. Harrumph. I suppose I’m in, too!

    🙂

  15. I love love love this idea! Will definitely be following your hash tag.

    Very creative!

  16. Ginger, you’re the best! : )

  17. Yeahhh Ginger…this is FANTASTIC! I love it! I’m in like flin since exercise and adopting a healthier lifestyle is what my 2012 is all about. Perfect timing. LOVE the crunches after going to the bathroom. That makes it easy to incorporate. And the water – wow! I’ve increased to about half that but am obviously going to have to step it UP! LOL! And love the gratitude aspect – beautiful!
    Looking forward to following it via twitter, facebook and your blog. Thanks for getting us all off our BUTTS!!!

    • Yay, so glad you’re joining in, Natalie. I love hanging out with you. 🙂 Yep, hardly anyone drinks enough water. Drinking the 100 oz a day alone will do amazing things; skin, hair, concentration (when you’re not thinking about peeing) and all sorts of great stuff!

  18. That is an Awesome idea. Count me in.

  19. WooHoo!!! Drinkin’ and peein’ over here…..

  20. I sent this to my trainer. She just might be your new biggest fan. She’s already got me sitting on a balance ball for parts of the day and every hour or so I have to do plyometrics (which I hate, by the way). Still, I’m in with you, Ginger! I’m bad about my water, so that is a good first week goal for me and the squats? Yipes. Do you know how many I’ll be doing in a day? Yeah, I thought you did. A million! From all that freaking water. Smaller Writer’s Butt, Smaller Writer’s Butt, that’s my new mantra.

    You’re awesome for doing this, Ginger. Thanks!

    • Yes … I was hoping you’d hop on Tameri! Give your trainer a hug from me. She sounds like a gem! 🙂

      Your mantra is like mine … picture butt in your luckys, picture butt in your luckys, …. It’s all about the @ss!! 😉

  21. I think this is a fabulous idea. I spend so much time sitting one place or another, I noticed a huge decline in my flexibility a few months ago. It worried me enough to launch my butt out of the chair and into 30 minutes of exercise at least three times a week.

    This is a monumental change for me – so I’m a big proponent of adding extra steps that make a difference. I love that you think about the mental and physical – too often we concentrate on one and forget the other. I’ll be visiting!

    • Hi Lesann, and welcome to the party! Flexibility is HUGE! It’s actually one of the top limiting factors from clients in my gym. We work very hard on mobility skills to increase flexibility. Here’s my favorite site/blog for this: http://www.mobilitywod.com/ It’s written by Kelly Starrett and we use his drills in our gym. He posts a drill a day. (I believe he can be loose with some language at times, so if that offends you … 🙂 )

  22. The little writers group I belong to had a yoga writer at a conference. What she spoke of convinced me I needed to take care of my body too. Thanks for this blog. Will follow!

    • Great to have you on board, Sharron. I think it’s great that most large conferences will have at least one workshop connecting some from of fitness or body awareness to our writing and creativity. It’s interlinked. We want our stories to come from a healthy home … our bodies!

  23. Love this Ginger! Another thing I did is I put a bar up in the doorway to my closet. I do pull-ups every morning and night. I can’t ignore the bar above my head taunting me. ;)You’re a smart lady Ginger. ❤

    • Love this! Pull ups are awesome and can be scaled for those who can’t do them without assistence (yet!). We originally ran our gym out of our garage and we still have the pull up bars in there. Thanks, Debra! Hug!

  24. This is cool, I think I need to give this a try. With all that I plan to do with my writing this year, I don’t want to end up with swolen legs like I had, over 18 months ago. Thanks for this Ginger. (btw I’m a newbie to your blog)

    • Thanks for coming to my blog and joining in the writersbutt fun. If you have a heavy writing load planned, focusing on your health is paramount! No swollen legs for you this year!

  25. Great post, Ginger. For years I have been complaining that most writers are grossly out of shape. Then again, so are most people. Personally I can’t live without a high intensity routine of working out on a daily basis. Being ‘fit’ is not enough for me — I go a step further. Gotta have a six pack and be able to run like a deer. My motto is write like a writer but look like an athlete.

    • You’re speaking my language! I tend to push my fitness to the upper threshold as well. I love it! Hey, sounds like you’d like CrossFit. Have you heard of it or tried it? Thanks for the props, Roy!

  26. This is awesome!! And I love the idea of a FB site. I tried Tweetdeck and it made me crazy. (Maybe one day….)

    Thanks so much, Ginger and Linda!!

  27. Okay, okay, I get it. Get up and move around more. Drink water, squat 10 times and pee (but probably not at the same time.)

    I like the old more laid back Ginger more than this slave driver Ginger, but I’m wiilling to play along. Send me my next assignment.

    Thanks for this wonderfu idea and great motivation! I’m looking forward to the posts.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    • Hi Patricia (and I realize I usually call you Jansen). Glad to have you hop on board! I’ll post next week’s challenge on Wed. Of course we’re chatting on Twitter and FB too so we can all support each other.

  28. Love this! As we talked about the other day/month/it’s all a blur, I’m really trying to get more fit. And I’ve been doing the butt in chair thing a LOT lately. Time for some serious butt-tweaking! See ya on Twitter!

  29. Love this!! I’m going to go to the kitchen now and fill up my water bottle…

  30. I’m in! Since I spend my days reading and writing book reviews on the computer in our RV, my pedometer shows barely 1/10th of the steps that I logged effortlessly as a high school librarian before I retired.

    So I have the water bottles ready and am buying a new journal (squee! a real reason to buy another cute notebook!) – will join y’all on the FB page and have a healthier 2012!

    (Got here from Linda’s blog thru MotherReader & LeeWind’s Comments Challenge)

    • I’m intrigued by your ‘life in RV’ and from your profile pic, can I assume you’re a big traveler. Looking forward to getting to know you.

      Hey, maybe we should all post a pic of our journals on FB. I LOVE an excuse to buy another one. I buy them without an excuse but there’s less guilt if it’s legit!

  31. I’m in! I like h ow you are breaking it down.

    Mary Jo Guglielmo
    http://www.DoNorth.biz

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