You Know You're A Writer When...

Thursday, April 28, 2011

You Know You're A Writer When:

1. There are scraps of computer paper with scribbling littering your desk and stuck out of your purse, lunch bag and jacket pocket. True story. I just looked over at my "stuff" and there are writing ideas nesting in every available cranny.

2. You can barely talk to people without translating the subject of your conversation into potential blog posts, magazine articles, headlines, columns, marketing angles, etc. I'm sorry, I really am listening. In fact, I hope you feel honored that our talks are so interesting that they'd make great topic pieces.

3. You can barely go about your daily functions without translating your own habits and thoughts into potential blog posts, magazine articles... It's not that our egos think our lives are so very interesting. Really, it's not. It's that we think we can connect to other people by admitting to our own weird quirks. Hey, there's got to be someone else out there who can't sleep at night until they can figure out where they've seen that funky spatula with the smiling face cut out of the center before.

4. Unconsciously, you begin "fixing" other people's writing, emails and resumes in your head. I mean seriously, don't you think you could come up with something better than "operated heavy machinery?" And "drive-thru" is just wrong. Again, this is not an indication of our arrogance or anything, just that our minds are trained that way.

I want to go there too!

Monday, April 25, 2011

We were visiting my grandma when it happened. From the bookshelf at the assisted living facility where she lives, I pulled a book with breathtaking photographs of wild animals in their natural habitats. My almost-3-year-old was mesmerized by the book for a good 15 minutes--which is quite amazing in itself, considering he isn't inclined to sit still for an entire minute at a time. I was having fun explaining where the animals lived, making up stories about what they were doing and even counting "heads." Grandma was just beaming watching her great-grandson delight in the images.

Then, the blue-eyed boy looked at me with the deepest, most pure longing and said "I go this place?" He wanted with all his heart to visit the places in the book. Those stark majestic mountains, crystal-blue untouched waters, and wild animal-populated grasslands. This brings back memories of the binder I kept as a young girl with all the collectible wildlife information cards. I can clearly see the attic door that I decorated with pictures of decadent waterfalls, stark cabins and lush rainforests cut from National Geographic. And I get a little lighthearted thinking about the longings I had to join Swiss Family Robinson or Hatchet on their wilderness quests. Oh honey, I want to go there too!

In the meantime, I might have to find him some National Geographics, buy him a "Nature Songs" CD or subscribe him to Ranger Rick. But that will have to be after I put together a "penny jar" for our dream vacation in the wilderness. And maybe we can kidnap grandma for awhile to take her there too. She would just love it!

Working Every Muscle

Monday, April 18, 2011

When I started working out, I stuck to a strict plan of running 30 minutes straight and then working out each major muscle group. If a workout plan ripped from a magazine didn't incorporate every muscle group, I'd either ditch it or supplement it with additional moves. I had to hit biceps, triceps, abs, legs, calves and butt. That was that. No compromise. Even if I got bored, I didn't stray from this plan.

Then, I got smarter. Working out the same muscles in the same way with each workout spells "plateau." I am not that strict with myself anymore. I still love running and enjoy hitting the treadmill or pavement for around 35 minutes every other day. I don't analyze it down to a science though. Sometimes I incorporate fartleks or intervals at random. Sometimes I juice up the incline to make sure I keep getting results. Sometimes I pick a cardio plan at random from the archives and go with it. When I'm training for a run, I'll print a plan and use that. Running at the same pace straight through doesn't do a thing for improving endurance.

My strength training is also very unpredictable. It's pretty go-with-the-flow. On days I'm feeling super-pumped, I do tougher strength training. On days I'm feeling wiped and not much like working out, I'll do some easier Yoga and stretching. Over the course of the week, I know I've hit all sorts of different muscle groups. I like to do different magazine workouts or online/on-demand videos so my body never gets used to anything. And I don't worry too much about what I'm doing as long as I'm doing something and I can FEEL it.

For me, the only rules are that I need both cardio and strength. And I need to feel it when I'm done. Here's my schedule:

Cardio: 35 min running/3x per week
Strength Training: 20 min/3x per week.
Other: I walk to and from work whenever I can and sometimes do an extra weekend run with a friend or bike ride with my family. Lunch breaks are broken up by a 1/2-hour of laps, and summer will find me taking walks whenever I can with my toddler.