Guest Post :
Andrew Knighton – Writing With Your Body
A nice view of the mind-body connection for writers.
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“the intent of this blog is to incrementally build a body of thought that works toward integrating various topics, yoga, fitness, and the arts – it’s a process…”
Guest Post : Andrew Knighton – Writing With Your Body
Categories : Guest Posts
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Below is my first guest post on my blog, from a writer, Andrew Knighton, I’ve only recently come across, but whose variety and openness to media of all sorts, appeals to me greatly. He’s universal enough I didn’t even realize he’s in Northern England til recently. (smiles)
Today, he writes about one of my favorite topics, the mind-body connection. Specifically as it applies to writers and creativity. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.
Writing with your body
Thinking, and therefore writing, is about more than just our brains. Those squishy masses of grey cells and synapses sit within our bodies and are inextricably entangled with them. Despite the dualistic thinking that we sometimes slip into, the mind and body are not separate.
For writers this has two main implications. One is that you really need to take care of your body. But the more exciting implication is that you can use your body to help you to think and write better.
Getting the thoughts flowing
Just getting up and moving about, getting your body active and your blood flowing, can help to get the thoughts flowing too. While going for a walk to clear your head is common advice it was an interview I read with comics writer Jason Aaron that really got the idea through to me. He talked about how he would sometimes go walking for hours, pushing his kid around the park in a pram, mulling over ideas. The walk wasn’t just a break, it was a vital part of the process.
Regular exercise can help to keep both body and mind moving, whether you’re a slightly erratic gym user like me or take a more sedate path like Adan’s yoga habit. The important thing is not to let the physical joints stiffen up, because the mental ones will too.
Being your character
Physical exercises can be great for getting into your character’s mental space by moving your body in the way that they do. Try walking or dancing like your character would, thinking about how their movements are different from yours. Look at theatre exercises designed to help with character. It’s all part of understanding your creations better.
There’s an element of research to this as well. Taking part in activities your character does will help you to understand those activities, to understand how your character experiences them and to get the details right. If your character is a potter then try taking a pottery class, learning about their technique and tools, how they move to get the shape right. If they’re a medieval infantryman then try re-enactment or live roleplay, get a feel for the chaos of a battle line. If they’re a dancer then learn to foxtrot or tango, take the ballrooms by storm so that you’ll know how they do it.
Touching your world
Physical action isn’t just about improving characterization, it can be about improving your descriptions as well. Take your body out into the world and experience it. Walk the streets that your character walks and feel what the pavement is like beneath their feet. Touch the sorts of objects present in your story, notice what that experience is like and think about how you can convey it in words. Using your body to understand your environment will make those descriptions much richer, much more real.
A whole person, a whole writer
It’s a shame to waste any tool that’s available to us as writers, doubly so when that tool is in a very real sense who we are. So make use of your body to enrich your writing, and if you have other exciting ways of doing that then please share them – I’d love to hear more.
Andrew Knighton is a freelance writer and author of speculative fiction. His first self-published collection of short stories, Riding the Mainspring, is out now. You can read more of his thoughts on his blog at andrewknighton.com and follow him on Twitter where he goes by the handle of @gibbondemon .
Be sure and check out Andrew’s “about” page, where, among other things, he says, “I indulge in all the best hobbies. Comics, wargames, board games, roleplay games (both live action and tabletop), and of course reading genre fiction. I like to think that it fuels my creativity. Really, it’s all just a big distraction, but isn’t that what life’s all about?”
Thanks so much Andrew, it’s been a pleasure (smiles).
namaste´- con dios – god be with you
*** INTEGRATING YOGA FITNESS AND THE ARTS