So this morning, at the suggestion of a reader, I took myself outside before I did anything else. Up and out my driveway for a walk–to wake the mind and the body at the same time.
Seventy-four degrees in Columbus, Georgia, with a light breeze. Wonderful in the shade.
And on my walk it came to me that I hadn’t taken an essay I wrote for my last packet of the semester (dropped in the FedEx box last night around six) far enough. This is the kind of thought that’s most likely to occur when my mind is free to roam. Which underscores the importance to writing of time away from desk or computer.
From The Maytrees:
Every book he read was a turn he took…He started new notebooks without having made the least sense of any old notebook.
I loved this, Cindy. I can’t tell you how many times a walk has provided insight or clarity when I’ve been stumped by a character’s actions (or lack thereof, usually). A walk in the trees, or alongside a creek, where birds are singing and bathing, is one of the world’s greatest luxuries.
Thanks, Renee. This morning was a wonderful reminder to me to get away from my d e s k! And a walk anywhere near water is my favorite…
Lovely. And so true. Sometimes I push it and push it and push it–forcing myself to sit at my desk. When, the whole time, what I REALLY need is a walk in the mountains with the dogs. And then, everything (or at least a couple things) becomes clear. How many times do we need to learn this lesson before we just DO IT without arguing?
Peggy, you are so right. How many times is it going to take? How many times before we step away from the desk willingly?
After I sent in my last blog post, I went to sprinkle my garden. As soon as I relaxed and emptied my mind, a sentence popped into my head that needed to be changed. So I turned off the hose, ran back into my office, and shot an email to the editor. Fortunately, she made the change. Seems the voice likes gardens, morning walks, and any sort of outdoor play.
Darrelyn, isn’t this the weirdest thing? It’s like, if we would just get out of our own way for a minute…
Yes, things do come to us when not at our desk, when staring into space or doing things other than sitting with hands on keyboard. Scientists say that brain activity is greatest when we’re staring into space. Archimedes and Newton were also, apparently, staring into space when struck by their great ideas.
Nora, I didn’t know that brain activity was greatest when staring into space. Really? This makes me think I should follow every session at my desk with a walk.
I enjoyed visiting your blog. Two related posts of yours: http://animatedwriting.blogspot.com/2010/02/frittering.html AND http://animatedwriting.blogspot.com/2009/11/twitlit_6975.html.
Thanks for stopping by. I hope you’ll be back.
My biggest problem is not getting out, it’s coming back in. What a glorious spring we’ve been having in Vermont! Perhaps that’s why my garden is better than my fiction.
Jodi, that’s funny. Perhaps you should try writing in your garden!
I had a similar event happen in which I changed a sentence and sent the story off, then I went on a walk. I returned clear headed and saw that when I changed the sentence, I forgot to replace the question mark for a period. I asked for a revision but it was too late. I have wrong punctuation out there for all the world to see.
Walking should always be an integral part of writing.
Ha! Yes, Tricia, I agree. Walking should be the icing on the cake. And slap our hands away if we try to eat a bite before it’s finished. I wish I could remember this…