Following, his thoughts on cross-training for writers:
Better late than never I suppose! As a way to offset the hours that I sit behind a computer writing, I decided that I needed some physical activity. Being someone who likes to multi-task, I decided to take up martial arts, thinking that perhaps in a future book I could have a character who knew the art of self-defense or perhaps like Sherlock Holmes take up the martial art of Bartitsu.
However, over time, martial arts did have benefits for those of us who are aging. I found that it helped my knee problems by strengthening my leg muscles. I found that I was much more limber than I had been in the past. Given that I like to sit cross-legged in the chair at my desk, flexibility is helpful for the longer writing sessions.
And while Agatha Christie had found her best ideas at the kitchen sink, I began to use the time training to develop ideas for my own writing. I find that doing some very physical will clear my mind and whatever my subconscious is trying to say to me can finally break past the typical noise of two dogs, family and my own mental attempts to solve a particular writing issue.
I enjoyed martial arts so much that I obtained my first degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, which included me breaking boards in public.
Sadly shortly after that, while walking in a crosswalk, I was struck by a car and I had to take some time off to recover. That was followed by neck problems, which meant surgery and the use of part of my pelvis bone to replace a disc in my neck. Given that Tae Kwon Do mainly uses the legs, the events sidelined me for years.
Now I’m finding that as I am writing a darker book with more physical violence in it, I’m turning my mind back to what I learned in martial arts. I’ve even been using the TKD training DVDs I have to improve my flexibility.