Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Writer's High

You always hear them talk about the "runner's high." I have often pondered why that's limited to runners - in the lexicon, that is, as I know full well the effect isn't just experienced by runners alone. Anyone who does that kind of exercise gets the same sort of effect, which makes sense once you consider the biochemistry of the whole thing. I think runners just get all the press because they are both the most visible and the most vocal members of the exercise community. (In part because in television land, other than the gym and the exercise studio, running is the easiest to film it seems. At least judging by the number of tv characters who jog or run anyway.)

Now, while I have no idea if the biochemistry is the same, and greatly suspect it isn't, in large part, I am putting forth the idea of the "writer's high." No sneakers required. Also no shower afterward, and no heavy duty cycle on the laundry.

I discovered this - or if that seems to smack too strongly of ego-centrisim, I realized this - after a particularly good writing session the other day. I don't remember how many words I got out, and at any rate I am of the opinion it can be something of a trap to focus on the number of words, but however many of them there were, they were good words that day. The first set of good words in a while, as lately they've become something of a slog. Something to get through, get words down, even if they're all going to die later in the rewrite.

And they felt good. Really good. Not just the act of writing itself, but the afterglow when I was done, when I had walked away from the computer to go do something else. I have noticed that with a really good workout, that sense of accomplishment follows me the rest of the day, long after my heart rate has subsided. This was the same thing, where it followed me throughout the remainder of my day, making the day seem that much better.

It's not the first time this has happened, and it is that feeling which helps me get through the days when it is more of a slog, when it seems almost like a chore to sit at the computer and try and crank something else. It's the rememberance of that feeling, of knowing if I can get past the warm-up (so to speak) and into the main workout, when it's all done I'll feel better. Maybe not a whole lot better, but better. And the memory of that feeling, of knowing it's there on the other side, makes it easier to try and tackle it each day.

It doesn't always work, as just with my exercise routine there are days I fail, but it gives me something to chase, something to seek, a little reward each day for sitting down and doing what I'm supposed to be doing. Something that, unlike with exercise, I can continue to chase my whole life, regardless of failing knees or joints or whatever else in my body decides to betray me as I get older. So that, when I'm 70, while my days of earning that "runner's high" - which I never, ever actually run for - may be gone, the "writer's high" will still be waiting for me.

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