Walking has always been for me one of life’s small pleasures. I’m blessed with a pair of healthy legs and feet that have put up with many hours of aimless urban walking, (the best kind).
For me, walking is a luxury. I don’t have to rush when I do. But I don’t get to do it every day. I dream of living in one of those pedestrian-friendly cities where you can walk everywhere, where you are part of the living city and not enclosed inside a machine, trapped in traffic.
Mind and body sync with their external environment. Sometimes we wonder why we are not being as creative as we know we could be while sitting down, sinking into our sofas, making a dent on our bed or the car seat. For the gears of our creative minds to move, our bodies need to move as well. A little physical exercise in the form of walking empowers our bodies and our minds.
Taking the focus away from thinking lets our brains relax, open up and let the flow of ideas take back its proper course. Walking oxygenates every organ in our bodies, our brains included. When we cut them out from this healthy flow, is it any wonder they don’t feel up to the task of creating whole new worlds?
Getting a bit lost out there forces us to look at the world we thought we knew differently. Making sense of our physical location gives our brains a challenge, which results in neurological growth and self-awareness. These newfound perspectives unlock the creative mind.
So, before you sit down to your next writing session, or find yourself lost in a blank page…
Some “Power Walking” ideas to try:
Map Your Story. You can walk the landscape of the fictional world you are creating by mapping that world and visualizing yourself walking through it.
Walk Your Story. It doesn’t matter if your story is based on the place where you live, or whether it’s centered on a pastoral or urban setting very different from your own. You can walk and interact with the environment of your city, or find a nearby park or green space, to engage with the physical and sensory stimulation that your story wants to convey.
Walk Away From Your Story. Sometimes the story we are working on becomes our greatest enemy. Sometimes, we wish we could walk away from what is not being kind to us, not loving us back. We cannot always do that with people or situations. But our story is ours to control. Shut off the computer. Put the notes away. Get up and leave. Manifesting this kind of control has an empowering effect. It will free you to the new and unexpected. You’ll come back to your desk with a new appreciation of your life’s small luxuries. With a fresh mind for a fresh start.
Confess: Are you a power walker? What is your mind-body empowering activity?
For some extra reading on the subject of walking for writers, check out this archived article from The New Yorker.