I’m no athlete so my understanding of cross-training is very simple: Do different activities to stimulate different muscles and to keep you from getting bored. The result will be a toned body, able to perform well.
As creative people, writers can use the idea of cross-training to improve and stimulate growth. Here are some examples:
- 1. If you write prose, try writing a poem, or a creative non-fiction piece.
- 2. Take a walk with your camera. Looking through a camera lens is a way to focus in on a subject, to frame it beautifully, and to see it in a new or different way.
- 3. Work in the garden. Weeding, planting, watering, pruning – these activities occupy one area of your brain but leave plenty of room for other thoughts to percolate – thoughts that could turn into stories, dialogues, or scenes.
- 4. Indulge in play therapy. Use play dough to model a character or characters that live in your mind. Let your fingers and hands work, kneading and manipulating the dough. Act out a scene. Who is this character? What is she doing? Why? What does she want and what stands in her way? How will she move forward?
- 5. Take some time to find an imaginary creature in your world. It might be an animal figure in the troweled plaster on the ceiling above your bed, or a face in a flower, or a design that captures your attention. What might this creature be thinking?
- 6 Plan a party – one that you would like to attend. Who would be there? What food would be served? What is the setting?
- 7. Paint or draw even if you think you cannot. Swirl colour onto paper in lines and patterns that please you. Give yourself permission to play.
Cross-training can free ideas that will help you write better. And it can be a lot of fun besides.
by Lorrie Orr 2013