Using My Words – Swimming

What does swimming have to do with writing?

I’ve got three kids. Loud ones. I’ve got a wonderful wife. I’ve got a full-time job. I’ve got two dogs. This is all great, but you know what I don’t get a lot of? Quiet. With all this, even when nothing is going on, something is going on. I can never get true peace and quiet.

I’ve also struggled to get back to the gym for years. I’m not a morning person. I’ve tried and I’ll never be a morning person. I finally broke down and started going to the gym to hit the pool right after the kids’ bedtime. This cut into my normal writing time and I feared I would lose ground but I needed to get back in shape.

It ended up being perfect. I’ve always liked swimming. I rocked the pool at Marco Polo. It’s been great for me physically but it had a surprising side effect. Quiet.

I swim for half an hour in almost total silence which gives me half an hour to plan out what I’ll be writing that night. My daily word count has shot up to 2500 to 3000 words in the two hours following my return from the gym because I know exactly what I’ll be writing.

The side-side effect of all this is that I’m more committed to getting to the gym. Rather than struggling to fit it in with all of the writing I want to do, it has quickly become an integral part of my writing process.

I can’t wait to get to the pool and plan. It’s so quiet underwater.


  1. I have always had a love relationship with water. I know exactly what you mean.

    • I had to remember how to not drown again. I guess I haven’t swum properly since having kids since I’ve always had to keep my eye on them thus my head above water. But, it’s kind of like riding a bike, except there is no bike and you’re underwater.

  2. Have you read Haruki Murukami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running? Just finished it, beautiful. Think you’ll agree :)

    • It does sound interesting. I’ll check it out. However, I tried running for a year and the only thing I ever though was, “ouch, ouch, ouch, this is stupid.” I’m just not a runner.

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