Walking Your Way to a Finished Novel

I’ve already blogged about the effects of health and fitness on writing here. But today, I have some additional thoughts to share.

I adopted a dog from the animal shelter last week. His name is Elliot, after T.S. Elliot. So far, he is turning into the world’s most awesome dog.

Fortunately for me and my writing projects, I was fortunate to snag a dog who’s super mellow in the house, but loves to go on long walks. And he’s great on the leash! He plods along at an even pace, doesn’t bark or lunge at other dogs, and basically allows me space to zone.

The con to all this awesomeness is that it’s still hot in southern California, I often walk Elliot at night. My preferred writing time is in the late afternoon or early evening. Which is fine, because I can just throw down all the ideas I just brainstormed on the walk, for the next time I want to write.

I’m not a biologist, so I can’t tell you what’s so awesome about exercising and brainstorming. Lots of writers and creative people I know use exercise as a way to help them with their work. Whether it’s jogging, swimming, biking, or walking, something about the combo of exercise is really good for your creativity. (I’m not a biologist, you guys come here for the books and the writing advice remember?)

For me, walking helps remove the fog that surrounds my brain. I can focus on the larger themes of my story and look at it from a more outside perspective. I can see the overarching plot arcs and where I need to up the conflict and where I need to spend more time on the characterization. When I’m writing, I get so focused on the words, the sentences, the grammar, that sometimes I forget where I’m going. Exercising helps me hold both in my head at once, so I can look at things from both the micro and macro level.

Exercise is also really effective against writer’s block. Just keep moving until you get unstuck. And even if you don’t, you just got a really great workout.

You’re welcome.

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