As a writer, I know the physical pain that can come with spending hours at a desk. But I’ve also learned to trust my body’s wisdom and use it to my advantage. When I take breaks to stretch, dance, and take Freddie for a walk, my writing benefits. Writing and thinking are fundamentally physical acts, and it’s important to remember that our bodies are not just transportation devices for our brains.
When we invite our bodies into our writing process as collaborators, teachers, and friends, physical pleasure can provide a fast track to pleasure in writing. We can pay attention to our posture, keyboarding, and other writing-related movement, or we can exercise, stretch, and move before and after writing. We can also pay attention to the physicality of language itself.
Marcel Proust’s famous “madeleine moment” demonstrates the power of sensory experience to stir our own memories and the power of sensory language to stir our readers’ emotions. Writers like Marissa, Peta-Anne, and Isadora have all found pleasure in their writing environments, whether it be through soft music, scented oil, or the colors of sea and sky.
When we take the time to notice the sights, sounds, and smells that infuse our scene of writing, we deepen our own enjoyment of the process. Writing can be a feast for the senses, whether it’s the smell of soup cooking in a suburban kitchen or the sights and smells of a hospital emergency room. Attention to sensory experience can provide a triple whammy of writing-related pleasure: for ourselves, for our craft, and for our readers.