Walking a path to better writing

How to liberate your creativity

My best ideas come to me when walking. I mean this in the simplest sense: Point A to Point B. Motion conjures magic that shakes free closeted thought patterns and the corresponding words and sentences locked away by a stubborn or weary mind. Movement is a chisel for writer’s block and salve for writer’s rash.

Why walking is a path to better writing 2Showering seems to conduct some of the same inspirational current. I assume yoga might work, though king pigeon pose isn’t exactly my thing. Even answering nature’s call can result in a call to action for the brain. And I’ve learned through the years that I am not alone. Plenty of other writers have been struck by coffee break creativity or the morning commute muse.

Why, then? I’ve decided it is liberation. Liberation from the utensils of writing. Of the pressure to put ink to paper or keystrokes to monitor, as it were. By briefly disconnecting from the binding relationships we establish with our desks and devices, we give our minds greater freedom to investigate ideas that are stalled on the launching pad.

I might stare at a computer screen for 10 minutes, devoid of all but involuntary physiology function – forget high-level creative thought – but as soon as I escape my chair and stroll down the hall, the spigot begins to flow. It has happened often enough that I am certain it is not coincidence.

Humans have plenty of latent instincts, seldom employed for lack of necessity. Deep within, however, are the ancestral user manuals for hunters, gatherers, workers, warriors and, so it would seem, writers. We are the descendents of the cave-dwellers scratching ancient text and line drawings into the smooth rock. We can channel that free-flowing artistic spirit. We just need to cut the tether from time to time and let the creative mind work without anyone looking over its shoulder.

Give yourself permission to re-calibrate and discover organically the words you really want to write.

So how do you separate this exercise from procrastination, its wicked stepsister?

Focus.

I am suggesting a change in venue, not an abandonment of thought. Your goal is exploration, as opposed to distraction.

Ponder while you wander.

As you journey – whether it’s through your office, across your yard, down the sidewalk or over the hedge – take your ideas with you. Let them stretch their possibilities while you stretch your legs. Often, they will grow wings, and you’ll find yourself sprinting back to your computer or notebook so you can capture them before they break entirely free.

Don’t be aimless; choose a target.

These excursions work because they are finite and concise. Don’t free yourself from writer’s block by going grocery shopping. Make the task so simple that the act is subconscious and the rest of your RAM is dedicated to teasing out that perfect phrase or killer conclusion that had so far eluded you.

Fetch a glass of water. Get the mail. Walk the dog. Fill the bird feeder. Make the bed. Your options are nearly limitless, but what’s important is to release your creativity from whatever has been binding it.

Editor’s note: The idea for this post came to me while I was walking a distance of 14 feet from my desk to the kitchen. Now get out there and discover your own anecdotal evidence!

Related: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/01/06/daily-prompt-best/

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15 thoughts on “Walking a path to better writing

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  8. Funny you’d mention the shower… I was showering yesterday and suddenly was hit with an idea for the story I’m in the planning stages of… I had to quickly rinse off all the soap, grab a towel, and head for my notebook so I could jot it down before I forgot it. This happens to me a lot. 🙂

    • It must our subconscious testing us. (“How badly do you want this new idea I created for you? Are you willing to jump out of the shower and run naked past the picture window to grab your notebook or laptop before you forget? If not, you must not be worthy, and you’ll end up writing about Miley Cyrus instead. Oh, I’ve got your attention now, don’t I?”) At least, that’s how my cruel brain seems to treat me.

  9. Physical movement definitely wakes up my creativity, but so does driving! I always have my best ideas driving through the mountains to work. I need a good app I can dictate to

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