Guest Blogger - Becky Clark
I used to hate any form of exercise, even leisurely walking, unless that leisurely walk took me to the ice cream store or Starbucks. Or both. That was before I started writing. That was before my sweet, angelic baby girl turned into Alien Toddler.
I started writing when my daughter was one year old. I started walking because if I put her in the stroller and gave her a lollipop (I know — bad, bad mommy), she wouldn’t scream or otherwise make my nerves go taut as a violin string for at least 20 minutes. I knew every morning I would have peace and quiet, time to gather my frazzled thoughts. Soon, those walks became addictive. Sometimes, I went for two walks a day. Sometimes even three, depending on whether or not Alien Toddler felt like napping.
I soon learned another benefit of daily walking. It was a great way to work out the kinks in my WIP. Almost like magic, for the scene I was having so much trouble with, the plot point that had me staring at the blinking cursor until I could see it in my sleep, the solution would pop into my head. Oftentimes, my mind would be overflowing with so many great ideas, I’d extend the walk (with more lollipops) until I couldn’t wait to get home and onto the computer (after Alien Toddler was napping, of course).
Creativity guru Julia Cameron urges all of us artsy fartsy types to take regular walks at least once a week to restore our spirit and nourish our creativity. In her book, Walking in this World, she says, “The truth is that walking holds our solutions.” Before the walk, we’re stuck. After the walk, we’re miraculously unstuck.
Walking clears your head and focuses your thinking, it pulls your awareness away from relentless mind chatter to the gentle rhythm of the walk. The repetitiveness of each step after step gradually brings you into an almost meditative, deeper state. And this deeper state is where your creative mind is free to let go, to explore the possibilities and all the “what if’s.” This is when the magic happens.
It’s no secret that exercise and creativity go hand in hand. Stephen King is known to be an avid walker. Henry David Thoreau wrote a book on it. And St. Augustine said, “Solvitur ambulando”—“it is solved by walking.” Great minds, great walkers.
I’m not telling you to go out there and walk as fast as you can until you’re all hot and sweaty and cursing my name. I’m talking slow and leisurely, people. Easy does it. Nourish that inner muse, don’t give it a heart attack.
Next time you’re stuck with your writing, instead of beating the tar out of your computer or scarfing a bag of Hershey’s Kisses, trying going for a walk instead. Your muse — not to mention your waistline — will thank you.
Becky Clark walks almost daily but swears her internal critic is following her. FYI—She survived the Alien Toddler years; said A.T. is now an Alien Teenager. When Becky’s not walking, she writes contemporary romance. Her most recent manuscript is a 2008 Golden Heart finalist.