Why Rest is Good for Writers

November 7, 2014

I love how my spin (cycling) teacher, Ken, thinks. I take the class with great trepidation because, well, I get a bit bored sitting on a stationary bike but Ken has made me think about exercise and writing differently and that training for them are similar in so many ways.


For one thing, Ken says rest is a necessary part of a work out.  

I ask him, "Why? Why not just go for it, harder and harder?" 

I mean, our society is not big on sanctioning rest during the day.

He says, "That's the mentality a lot of guys have in a class. I tell them to rest, go at a slower speed just for a minute. They ignore me and go full throttle. Then half way through the class they can't keep up with me."

Ken builds up speed and resistance and power then he rests, then he does it again for longer but always with rests between each five minute cycle. 

I definitely have some guilt about the idea of resting but what I'm learning is that just as Ken says, each time I rest for a few minutes I come back to my writing with more ideas, more go power, more relish for the writing itself.


For my rest I use comedians. I find them better than coffee or cruising facebook but that's just me. I use Reginald D Hunter or Dave Allen or Richard Pryor or Whoopee Goldberg or Sarah Silverman or Louis CK or whoever my comedian of the week is - to rest. This week it's definitely Louis CK and he has a huge amount on youtube to choose from. I write until my brain hurts or my fingers twitch then I switch on youtube and after ten minutes of laughing my brain is rested, revived, alive and hungry to go back to the writing.

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