You can learn a lot about writing well from bodybuilders.

1. Develop a program.

Bodybuilders have to decide which exercises they’ll do on which days.

For you, Writer, you must also choose what your writing regimen will be. Me? I write M-Sat with Sunday off to rest my weary brain cells.

2. Practice good form.

Bodybuilders must learn how to do each exercise properly, including full extension of movement, proper stance and posture, etc.

Writer, you must associate with writers, agents and editors. Attend conferences, read books and blogs that teach the art of writing. Education is a key element to being able to craft an appealing story.

3. Lift to fatigue.

Bodybuilders stress their muscles, by pushing them to their extreme limits (while still using good form).

Writer, you might sometimes be tempted to quit a writing session early because the words aren’t coming fast and easy. I propose that you write to fatigue–because just like in building muscles, you may find that once you break through the barrier you have even greater strength and range of motion in your writing.

4. Change your eating habits.

Bodybuilders must eat the right foods to feed growing muscles. Supplements are also a good addition.

Writers must read books in their genre–lots and lots of books. Agent/editor/publisher blogs are good supplements to a healthy writer’s diet.

5. Change your routine every four to six weeks.

Bodybuilders regularly change their routine because muscles can grow accustomed to certain exercises and stop their growth. Change shocks them into responding, and growing, again.

Writers, shaking things up can similarly spark your creativity. Too much of the same old, same old, and your writing gets, well, old. Try brainstorming a story from a different genre–even if you don’t write it, stretching your creative muscle in a different direction will only be beneficial to your writing.

6. Focus on the negative.

Bodybuilders know that the downward movement (negative) of each lift is at least as important as the upward (positive) movement. It’s the negative movement that tears the muscle fibers, allowing them to heal and grow even bigger in the process.

Writers–writing is not meant to be easy. Easy is Dr. Seuss. If its power you’re looking for, words that ring like music in your reader’s heart, then you’ve got to embrace the negative. Let your stories delve into the depths of human emotion so the highs are all the sweeter.


I want to have a strong body of work, don’t you? Then let’s Pump. It. Up.
I used this page to assist in writing this blog,
plus my own wealth of knowledge on the subject as I (gasp!) 
used to compete in bodybuilding competitions (like, eons ago, but still …)
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25 comments on “Pump Up Your Writing!”

  1. My muscles are feeling this morning’s workout, so I could relate to both. Except I’m not a bodybuilder, but I needed to be pumped up today. So, thanks!

  2. Sometimes breaking through the barrier is all you need to open the floodgates, so I loved that advice about pushing to fatigue.

    Here’s to getting pumped.

  3. My writing routine is five to six days a week. I work part time, so usually on my day(s) of work, I tend not to do the official sit down at the computer thing, but I take that day rather to do a bit o’ social networking, blog or jot down any ideas floating around in my head.

    Some great stuff here. Who would have thought I’d have so much in common with a bodybuilder?! Haha

  4. No flippin’ way – you were a muscly bound scary looking body builder?!?! (You aren’t actually scary looking at all, you’re very pretty, but I find all body builders of the male or female variety vaguely frightening. The really big ones anyway. Not just really toned people at the gym. I’m talking about the people on the magazines who look their arms are going to explode.) Anyway, wow, that’s cool! And what a great post. I don’t body build, but I do weight train, and the same principles apply. Never thought of it in terms of writing. 🙂

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