Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Happy HUMP day everyone.

Well since it's Wednesday and in the middle of the week, I thought I'd bring in a SPECIAL GUEST BLOGGER to get us moving for the rest of the week ...

Today my new blogger buddy, Morgan Shamy is going to entertain us with her AMAZING routine to stay in shape while writing. As we all know, writer's are VERY sedentary, so we need to eat right and KEEP MOVING!

Morgan is kind enough to be my first guest fitness blogger, so let's all dust off our high school pompoms and give a CHEER for MORGAN!  YAY MORGAN! Take it away!


LOL! I promise I’m not mocking the title of your blog, Michael… 

Anyway. Fitness. And writing. Staying fit while writing. 

Oxymoron? Definitely not. 

A little back-story: I grew up in the hardcore ballet world… so image and fitness has been ingrained in me from an early age. You spend hours and hours staring at yourself in the mirror wearing nothing but a leotard and tights all day. It’s all about having long thin lines, looking better than the girl next to you, pushing your body past limits you didn’t think was possible. Being consumed in that world can mess with your head. (I have tons of comparisons between the writing world and the dance world, but that’s another post

But since I started writing, I don’t have that physical push anymore. My love for sweat and bodily anguish turned into a love for complex storylines and formulating the perfect sentence. But because of my past, it’s important for me to stay fit even though I’m not spending hours a day dancing anymore. It’s something that’s embedded in me, a part of who I am. 

But I’m not willing to sacrifice my writing for time at the gym. I have friends and family members who are obsessed with working out. It’s what they do. It’s their hobby—which can be great, but I don’t have time for that—let me rephrase—I don’t want that to be a priority, not with four kids and wanting to spend any free time I have writing. Yes, there are those balanced people who plan each moment of their day down to the last minute and can fit everything in (Do these people really exist?), but I’m not one of them.  

With all things, you have to put forth effort to have results. So how do you stay fit, work, maintain a household, do dishes, laundry, homework, socialize, support your community, taxi kids around, blog, read, and have time to write?

Well, there are certain things I do, but they may be weird, so don’t laugh… 

First, the obvious. It’s all about what you put in your body. Having the control to put away the bag of potato chips, the bag of fruit loops, the popcorn, anything you can blindly eat while writing. What’s funny is I totally write better if I’m chewing something! Sounds strange, but true. The motion must create an alternate distraction or something that allows my mind to open up. See? Weird. So I chew on carrot sticks. Gum. Celery. Raisins. Anything that takes a while to chew, and won’t put in those unnecessary calories. 

Next? I never just sit. And this is where it gets stranger. I have the habit of working my muscles even while resting. I’m never completely relaxed. I’m always working my abs, keeping them tight, holding them strong. I lift my leg and see how long I can hold it in the air just to feel my muscles burn. I’m not sure if it’s just a dancer thing, but I like to feel my muscles tense at all times. And it works! Even when I’m sitting, I can be getting stronger. 

Last? Get up and dance. You don’t need to set aside a chunk of time each day to work out. I do short bursts throughout my day. We do this thing at our house where I’ll randomly blast music and we’ll all get up and dance. I always get the urge to run up and down the stairs—or jump around with the kids. Short bursts of exercise are great—it gets the blood pumping and can clear the writer’s head within seconds. And it’s easier than getting a sitter or hauling everybody out of the house to get in a workout. 

And also, on the flip side, don’t forget to eat. I know sometimes, I get so consumed in a project, the hours will go by and I’ll start wondering why I have a headache. Or why the words aren’t flowing. And it’s because I haven’t eaten. Food fuels the brain, and we need those healthy calories to maintain that brainpower. 

I know for me, when I feel better, I write better. 

Thanks so much, Michael, for letting me come visit today! I think this fitness series is great—and you are the perfect host! 

Thank you, Morgan. I really appreciate you stopping by and giving us you special insight into fitness and writing. You are THE best. I hope to see you back in December with some wonderful tips during the holiday season.

I hope you all will visit bi-monthly for posts on fitness and healthy eating from me and my SPECIAL guests. Next month on October 1st, L. Diane Wolfe will be giving us her tips for staying healthy.

Also, this coming Friday I will be posting another Flash Fiction piece for the Romantic Friday Writers, so I hope to see you all then. 

Have a great day everyone and thanks for visiting. I always makes my day!


  1. I do go to the gym several times a week, but it's definitely not an obsession. And outside of Hot Tamales, no bad munching for me.

  2. First of all - I love Morgan! <3

    This was a really good post because it is SO easy to put on weight when you're a writer. I try not to spend too long sitting still. I make time to do thirty minutes of exercise at least, and if I'm struggling with a scene, I run up and down the stairs a few times lol! it seems to work!

  3. Michael, looking forward to Friday's post.
    Good advice. I strive for fitness because lets face it - 'ass in the chair' is the writer's motto. :)
    Ass shaped like chair -- now the curse.

  4. So glad you started this series Bro and Morgan is great, thanks for the advice! I dance to most everything I do around the house and I have stairs so that helps. Also I have this dog to walk twice a day :)Still working on that eating right least I quite smoking :)

  5. Morgan, with 4 children you are a gem to get any writing done! :-)

    What is that saying? "I used to have a six pack now I have a keg!"

    I'm not that bad -- but yes, writing while working as a rare blood courier is a challenge.

    I use the stairs whenever possible. I park very far from the entrance of wherever I am heading. I drink bottled water as I drive instead of cokes.

    Thanks, Morgan and Michael, for this great series of posts! Roland

  6. Totally awesome! And btw, Michael, something much be in the air, because another blogger friend of mine has started a fitness series. Glad to see we're all becoming a little more health conscience lately.

    Great post, as always, Morgan! :)

  7. Michael and Morgan, thanks for this post. I so needed this little reminder. :)

  8. Morgan, you are much more dedicated than I am :) I'm lucky if I hop on our elliptical a couple times a week!

  9. I have met Morgan in real life and I will testify that she is EXTREMELY fit. Give her a dress by Vera Wang and plop her down at the Kodak theater during the Oscars and no one would be able to tell she didn't belong there. She'd be like "Hey, Rihanna...loved Battleship!"

    XOXO Morgan.

  10. A timely post. Something I need to put more effort into.

  11. Morgan rocks. I don't usually eat when I write, but I do chew gum.

  12. Thanks Morgan and Michael for talking about fitness.

    I like weight training and at one point was up to the advanced level. Hubs and I walk every day now, when possible. We walked the streets of old Paris, France- 5-8 miles a day and loved it.

    Some of my injuries (lower back pain, whiplash to neck, etc) bother me less when I'm in good shape. I don't do the bodybuilder routine of many sets, but rather a full-body workout in one set of 30-45 mins. When I had a bone density bodyscan, they told me I had the bones of a 20yr old, which isn't my age. Fitness is a life-long lifestyle which pays you back with better health.

    Enjoyed your post, Morgan! And I like this series, Michael. We writers need to remember we have a physical presence.

  13. Awesome post and great ideas! It's true, our fitness affects everything we do. I've been thinking of getting a tread desk so I can write while walking. I know a few authors who love it.

  14. Meh. I can eat like a buffalo and still stay lean and fit. I ate 3 steak dinners last week and weighed 175; today I'm 176 and not a single pudge in sight.

    I guess some people are just born lucky, huh? Well, I'm not an expert but I do have one tip to staying in shape while writing: eat two banannas everyday. The potassium helps break down fatty foods and it interacts nicely with endorphins, giving you a preppy, engergized feeling for at least three hours. In the case of drinks, I reccommend MAUBY. If you don't know what that is you can Google it. It's a sort of brown bark that can be found in some herb stores. It is excellent for overall health but is best drank as iced tea.

    This was fun, perhaps I should start a health blog...? How's that idea sound Michael?

  15. You guys are ALL AWESOME...

    Alex: *dies* I can't believe you're a Hot Tamales fan... I'm assuming you mean the candy? My hubs loves those, but I'm not a fan! ;)

    Roland: It is a miracle!

    Tiana: You're better than me! You at least do *real* exercise! LOL.

    Michael O: I'm STILL LAUGHING... ;)

    And the rest of you are spot on... seems like we're a put together bunch! :D

  16. Woah! What a super blog & idea! Great to hear how writers keep trim nowadays! Morgan, I'm well impressed!

  17. MORGAN!!!! The awesomeness never ends!

    I should worry more about being fit, I guess! I just like chocolate waaay too much, lol! :-p

    You're so amazing, Morg! <3

  18. These are good ideas. This is something I've been trying to balance forever. Writing means you have to sit a lot, sitting can lead to...well, we all know. I've taken to swimming and going on long walks, but other ideas always are nice and helpful.

    Eating is a huge I know. I'm forced to eat healthy, but sometimes, eating just sugar is tempting.

    Thanks for sharing your times!

    Also, thank you, Michael for the comment and follow. I'm pleased to have found your blog. I think I will enjoy reading your posts a lot.


  19. There are a lot of small things one can do to exercise while sitting. Every movement counts.

    People who complain about being out of shape amuse me. My first thought is "Well, DO something!"

  20. It's easy to sit too much when writing. It's also easy to skip meals. Very true! Great post. :)

  21. Fitness is essential. I did ballet for a little while as a child. It's great for discipline.

  22. New follower :)

    I LOVE Morgan and I do what she does so far as snacks go. It takes a LOT of will power for me to choose grapes over Nutella. A lot. I still treat myself once in a while though :D

  23. Great post! Picture me doing the happy dance :), although at the moment I am too tired

  24. Hey,

    Great post by she who I now designate as SuperMorg!

    (I feel lighter already... oh that was just more hair falling out...)

    PS... is it only me who had the vision of Michael dressed as Richard Simmons with that awesome intro of Morg:)

  25. Two of my favorite people in the same place. Yes, I'm swooning. :-D

    I think I love your last suggestion the most, M. Get up and dance ... I'm a horrible dancer by my own estimation, but love to get up--about every half-hour--and dance around my office. I'm usually singing to my dogs and force the beagle to dance, too. (She's a total sucker, I just pat my legs and she'll bound up and let me move her around for a few seconds. There'll never be any video to prove this, btw, so quit wishing.)

    Seriously though, moving around is such an excellent stimulant for creativity. Go for a walk, jog in place, throw a ball to a dog--whatever. It frees your mind, and makes you healthy. What could be better?

  26. I used to be a dancer (tap, ballet, and modern in upper elementary school, Israeli dance my senior year of uni), but I'd never pretend I was professional-level. I've always wanted to get back into dancing, in spite of how I no longer have full range of motion in my right ankle and how I can't jump on my right foot. If I'm taking a Zumba or Israeli dance class, I jump on my left foot when everyone else is supposed to jump with both feet.

    My favorite workout is spinning. I also take a PowerBall class, in which we also often use a Bosu.

  27. yay morgan! i've been trying to exercise more lately. so many reasons to do it! and now it also improves writing! better get in the habit!

  28. I like that - sit and flex your muscles. Dancing sounds like fun, too. I think I'll get my bottom off of this chair and start moving!

  29. WOW, talk about the irony. I'm reading this after my post gym shower, wondering if I exercised enough! Haha. So nice to meet you as well and great blog!

  30. I've been pushing off exercising for too long now, but like you said, I don't want to sacrifice my writing time. Those were some great things to remember that all take practically no time at all! Thanks, Morgan and Michael.

  31. High fives, Michael and Morgan! What a great post. :D

  32. I know I should do these and get myself moving but.... always there are excuses. Well thanks to you, Michael and Morgan, I'm giving my body the break it needs right now.

  33. But Morgan, chubby chicks like me make skinny girls like you feel best about yourself! It's my public service!
    (though seriously, you're totally right...I don't always move as much as I should, but I try to eat well...if I don't I'm groggy and tired and think too slowly.)

  34. Ah. I think I need to re-evaluate my current health/fitness regime.

    Happy Hump Day!

  35. My husband has chastised me because I just bought a mini coffee pot for my office so I don't have to go all the way downstairs for a fresh cup. He has a point.

    A local writer friend has placed a shelf on the hand bars of his treadmill so he can use his laptop while he walks. I'm pretty sure he doesn't run while he writes, but any movement is better than just sitting.

  36. I have that muscle-tensing habit as well. You might be right that it's a dancer tendency--I take ballet classes.

    Great guest post!

  37. I'm pretty good at eating right and my job requires lots of physical activity. Now that I'm older, I mostly just jog for my evening workouts. But yeah, I used to just get up and dance.

  38. I agree with Kyra - I love Morgan too!

    I eat good every day but don't exercise much. I put my heart into writing and blogging.

    Great post, Morgan!

  39. Awesome post! I work out several times a week for health and stress reasons. I noticed a huge difference with my writing too. I could be better about the eating part, but I love tex mex too much. Damn it!