The company I work for offers free boxing classes every week. Even though I hate going to the gym, boxing sounded interesting. So I gave it a shot and I like it. Since then, you’ll see me reading, writing or boxing during my free evenings.
Recently, I had a weird shower thought: boxing classes and writing sessions actually look alike.
Both activities are intense: boxing requires a lot of physical effort, whereas writing requires much mental effort. And you can become a skilled boxer or writer if you put in the reps. If you want to improve your Content Marketing and Writing skills, you should follow a typical boxing class routine (or any other workout routine).
Not convinced yet? Read on to discover what I mean (or how weird my thoughts are).
A typical boxing class routine
A typical boxing workout consists of a warm-up, the class itself and a cool down. You start with light activities to prepare your body for the hard work. Then, when you’re warmed-up, it’s time to give everything you got. And then, after 40 minutes of heavy panting and sweating, you should cool down your body.
I feel like writing marketing content should be treated like a workout too. You don’t ‘just’ write — you’re creating content that is clear, resonant and easy-to-read. Content that should help your potential customers.
And doing exactly this, going from an idea to a finished article, is a mentally-straining task. So maybe, each writing session should have a warm-up and cool down too.
And you definitely need some rest after each writing session.
The boxing class
After your warm up, it’s boxing time. You put all your effort and energy into your movements and jabs. Left hook, right hook, kick. Giving everything you got— it feels great. Especially when doing exercises you’re good at. But some exercises might feel challenging: they require more physical effort. Some activities might even be less enjoyable, but you have to do them anyway.
Writing is exactly the same. You’re using a lot of mental effort to get the right words on paper. Sometimes it takes you less than an hour to create fun marketing content from start to finish. And sometimes, creating content is less enjoyable. Think of writing long-form copy with a lot of technical definitions that make little sense to you.
But after most boxing classes and writing sessions, you feel a sense of accomplishment. You have produced something: a draft, second version or a blog that’s ready to be published.
Furthermore: if you show up frequently, you’ll become stronger and your boxing technique improves. If you write frequently, you’ll write better too.
But let’s get back to our warm-up. Because a good warm-up is just as important as the main workout. If your body isn’t warmed up, you’re not going to have an enjoyable workout. You might even increase the chances of getting injured. After having completed your warm up, your body is ready to go and you feel like you can take on the world.
If you’re a content creator, you’ll agree with me that starting a draft is one of the most daunting tasks. But once you’re writing, you can’t be stopped. Your creative brain needs a warm-up too. Before you take on your challenging 4000-word blog article, you should start with creating something light and fun. Think of Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages, where you start each day with 20 minutes of writing about whatever you want. Wash a Pig is a fun card game for creative marketers and copywriters.
When you do these light and fun tasks, you’re warmed up and ready for the heavy work.
Cool-downs are important too. You reduce your heart rate and stretch your body. The post-workout cool-down is a signal for your muscles to start recovering. Good cool-downs prevent injuries.
Writing is an intense and sometimes stressful task. So you need to give yourself a post-writing session cooldown too. Give yourself a moment to ‘finish your creative day.’ You could for instance reflect on what and how much content you’ve made today. If you feel stressed, you could write everything off by journalling or by just writing some fun fiction for yourself. You can also just write a piece of text that doesn’t make sense at all. Play with words, sentences and the rhythm of your text and just enjoy what you’re doing.
And if you still have some ideas left for the blog post you were writing, write them down so that you can continue with these ideas once you resume writing.
After a tense boxing class, your muscles are hurt. So you should give your body enough time to recover from the heavy workout. This way, your muscles can heal and grow. If you don’t rest enough, you might increase the chances of becoming injured.
Your creative brain needs enough rest too. In fact, there are 7 types of rest we all need. Sometimes we just need to shut down and do something relaxing. So give yourself a break after having written something, or do some tasks that require little mental effort. Go for a walk or read a book. If you don’t give your creative brain enough rest, you’ll get writer’s block or you’ll even burn out. A well-rested brain gives us the greatest ideas after all.
And don’t forget to train your muscles, of course. If you don’t write regularly, your writing skills won’t improve and the content you write will not get better.
And obviously, you should also have some fun while putting in the reps.