I’m going to say that I hate working core when exercising. It’s hard, it takes a long time to see any results, and … well … it’s hard. But I’m determined now that before my next birthday, I’m going to see some definition in my abs for the first time in my life.

Last week in the gym, there was one other guy lifting weights while I was working my abs. While I was between sets, he laughed and said, “Wish I had time to do that!” Then he went back to the bench press. That got me to thinking.

When I was in martial arts, my instructor made a point that at least once a week we did core. Leg raises, superman pose, sit ups, etc. When I do that now, I imagine his voice in my head pushing me further. It’s hard work, but also important to make sure that your frame is strong enough to assist all the other limbs you’re working. If all you do is cardio, or arms, or legs, you simply won’t have a balanced body.

This is just like writing. It’s easy enough to sit down, butt in chair, and write. Get that first draft down and don’t worry whether it’s good or bad – just write it. But sooner or later, you have to go back and do the core work – the basics that will balance your writing to make it healthy. How do we do that as writers? We continue to learn, take classes, or read books on the subject. We take criticism on writing that may still be fresh and sensitive to critiques.

In Vancouver, there are some great places to do this. Summer classes at UBC, courses at your local library, the SiWC, or Write on the Beach, just to name a few. Some of these may be cost prohibitive, but chances are if you look hard enough you’ll find one that fits your budget. Hey, a library card is free – and there are some great books on the subject of becoming a better writer. Just like with exercise, start small. Start with what you can accomplish, and work your way up from there. You can do it!

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