My wife and I went bike riding on Saturday, down the Olentangy trail near the Park of Roses. I haven’t ridden a bike in years, and it was a rocky experience at first. Not so much the bike riding (turns out the cliche isn’t too far off about that), but getting the bike rack mounted to the car, replacing a busted tube, and other little prep hiccups.
Our planning for this trip consisted of my wife turning to me a little after she woke up and saying “do you want to go for a bike ride?” And I said yes.
I know I’m going to sound like a bit of curmudgeon saying this, but my instinct in situations like this is to say no. It’s not that I don’t like bike riding (I actually had a fairly good time and would like to do it again soon), it’s just that I tend to have a fairly narrow view of what evenings or weekends should be spent doing.
I justify myself by saying that I’ve had a long week and I want to get some writing done, or just relax and recharge. Or maybe I let the morning’s aches and pains dictate my day. I’ve never been the kind of guy for whom exercise really loosens me up or energizes me (at least that’s what I keep telling myself). Truthfully I was both of those things after the ride, even if I was a little sore down the road.
This is one of the reasons why I need my wife. Left to my own devices I would sit in front of a screen, be it Kindle, TV or computer, and while away all the hours of the weekend until it was time to go back to work and more screens. It’s not that I don’t like doing a variety of activities (going to festivals, farmers markets, walking the dog). I actually think doing these things are part of what makes for a well rounded person. I’m just not so good with the overcoming inertia thing. Sometimes, though, all it takes is being asked, and not going with my gut reaction. I wouldn’t be a very fun husband either if I said no to things all the time. It’s good for me personally, and it’s good for the both of us together.
I think this is a trap some writers can get themselves into. So much of writing is spent inside your own head, whether it’s reading, plotting stories, or crafting scenes. Even writing environments have to be chosen to contain the correct amount of stimuli absent distraction (i.e. The white noise in a coffee shop, but not outside, outside has bugs). It may sound equally cliche to suggest that you need to go out and smell the roses, or actually go out and make your body do something instead of just your mind, but it’s true. And hopefully it helps you live longer and be able to write more books.
So do me a favor and remind me of this when she wants to go riding again tomorrow 🙂