Monday, July 26, 2010

Stuck? Walk it off...

When my editor asked me about my writing habits, I told her that I include walking as part of my writing time. According to my brief research online, I'm not the only writer who does. Something about the rhythm of the walk aids meditation. The scrambled, desperate voices that harass you when you're stuck on a point in your story melt away. Other doors in the mind open and options appear. Soon, you're weaving new threads in your story or going back and filling in the missing pieces. It's sort of miraculous.

This weekend I walked for a couple hours on the beach in Santa Monica hoping that something writerly would kick in. I'm having trouble starting a new book--partly because I loved the last one too much. (All my new ideas seem pale by comparison.) Putting one foot in front of the other, I waited on my brain to catch up with me. It took awhile, but fragments started appearing to me. By the time I finished, I felt that maybe I had found my way. I plopped down on my beach chair feeling greatly relieved. Then the sun came out! It was an excellent non-writing writing day.

Incidentally, the walking technique works best when you walk alone. Just you and your little blocked brain is all the company you need.

Enjoy while the walking weather is good!


  1. Hey Kathleen! I saw your post on the SCBWI yahoo group and thought I'd stop by.

    Walking is one of my greatest writing tools. I agree that it aids meditation. It's like I channel story when I'm on foot.

    I've probably passed you on the beach. (Although I walk a little north of you, near Will Rogers.) I'll keep an eye out for you. ; )

  2. I love this Kathleen! This almost always works for me when in a creative rut . . . sometimes it takes a few days of walks, but you get there. Along the same line if you have the time, a quick trip out of town (even if just for the day) makes a world of difference. It's all about hitting the refresh button!

  3. I live in Santa Monica! Would love to meet for coffee, or a walk :D I write MG books and a blog called The Daily Ocean. Thanks for your blog that helps me feel connected to the process of writing. The real ups and downs we all face. Looking forward to this weekend's SCBWI conference! Hope to see you there.


  4. Suzanne, I try to get to the beach on weekends during the summer just for a weekly walk. Something about trudging along the sand clears out the old and lets the new in.

    Eliza, I'm with you about leaving town. New impressions and breaking routine help. By the same token, I admire anyone who can write creatively while raising small children. I had a hard time of it because the routine was written in stone! (Not to mention that the vocabulary suffers, too.)

    Sara: I think I'll go to the conference on Saturday. If you see me (or my name tag) please say hello!