Betsy Whitt

I read. I write. I think. I live.

Fighting The Elements

Have you ever noticed that just when you get in the right mood to go outside and exercise, everything conspires against you?  I had so hoped to have a nice, long bike ride this morning, but when I got up it was 40 degrees and raining.  Not just raining, mind you, but pouring (for Colorado) with whipping wind.  Yesterday this storm system dropped golf-ball sized hail a bit east of here, and they’re saying it’ll turn into snow tonight.

It’s crazy.

I mention this primarily because I often brew while riding my bike outside.  Having the distraction of pedaling, steering (you know, not hitting any of the power walkers on the bike path), and that tinge of burning muscles frees my mind to really roll ideas around, see where the holes are with various potential approaches, and work through the best way to flesh out a scene or series of scenes.

And since I need more brewing at this point in my writing, a power-brew bike ride seemed like just the thing, until I woke up and realize I’d be very cold, soaking wet, and probably sick by the time I brewed enough to make it worthwhile.

Riding inside on my trainer never has quite the same effect.  I’d consider heading over to the elliptical trainer in the complex fitness center if I knew I’d have the place entirely to myself.

You see, part of the reason my power-brewing works is because I talk out loud as I work through things.  Most people on the bike path don’t notice because they’re walking and I’m riding, and I pause in my debates as I call, “Passing on your left!”  But in the fitness center I have the distinct feeling I’d make a fool of myself, induce someone to call the authorities to have me carted away, or both.

This doesn’t mean I’m stuck or blocked, just that it’ll probably be an extra day or two of back burner brewing until I’m ready to tackle this rather pivotal scene.  Would’ve been nice to bike through it a little faster, but I haven’t got much choice.

Do you ever use physical activity to channel or focus your mental activity?



  1. I’ve found that the treadmill does wonders for my psychological well-being. When I’m having an “angsty day” as I like to call them, or have something Really Big on my mind, getting on the treadmill usually helps me to straighten my thoughts out. Plus, the endorphin rush generally makes me feel better, which often leads to me wondering why I was so angsty in the first place.

    As for working out to help my plotting…if I’m not at the gym with friends, I’ll tend to let my mind wander and roll different plot points around in my head. For some reason, though, my best plotting tends to happen in the shower, I guess because I’m only half awake and haven’t been properly caffeinated yet. *grin*

  2. Funny, I never get any productive thinking done in the shower… wonder why that is? :)

  3. For me, when I get stuck or need to percolate some ideas, nothing makes me feel better than either a few judo matches or building something. I do think of things in the shower, but they never sound right once they go on paper.

    Just letting you know I do read these things… :-)

  4. Good to see you here, Scott – and I’ll be sure to speak of you only in complimentary terms, now I know you’re lurking. ;) Hah.

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