Walking is often downgraded in social circles as “the soft exercise” or the “lazy person’s workout;” but, walking, in a study done by Stanford University, could just be the one exercise that unlocks the door to inspiration and creative expression, making it a writer’s best friend. The art of words is almost as old as time itself. The Greek word for the written word is “logos.” Words are the visible expression of thoughts, values, and beliefs; moreover, they are the window into the mind, the floodgates of imagination. Sometimes, those flood waters of creativity get bottled up in an, at times, insufferable condition known as “writer’s block;” and, walking could just be the key that opens the gate.
Walking has also been shown to improve a person’s mental state. Studies have been conducted that show that walking improves focus and concentration and helps stabilize emotions, especially after a frustrating occurrence or emotionally intense situation. People who walk or bike to work do not have to put up with road rage or worry about getting stuck in traffic and being late; consequently, they do not arrive at work nervous, flustered and on edge. Likewise, walking can take a writer across a meadow, down a hiker’s path, by a stream, or around their neighborhoods. All of which can open an ocean of inspiration and set the creative juices flowing, making that walk better than a visit from the writer’s best friend.
The discipline of walking lends itself to greater focus and diligence. While walking is great for the artistic mind, it is also known to be good for the physical body. However, since walking is a much lower impact exercise than jogging or other sports routines, it has to be done more often and more briskly and assertively than higher impact physical activities. Walking, though tame when it is compared to other forms of exercise, requires more discipline and tenacity in order for it to make a difference on the waistline and with energy levels. This kind of physical discipline leads to mental self-control, a necessary component in creative expression.
Writing is an artistic expression that can keep the mind creating, its neurons firing. Walking is an exercise that keeps the body moving forward toward health and wellness. Like there are different types of genres in literature from which a writer can choose to write, there are different types of physical activity that we can mix in with a walking routine to keep it from becoming mundane. Some activities to mix with walking include jogging, dancing, swimming, team sports and reflexology.
Walking and writing are extraordinary bedfellows that work in an often overlooked tandem of creativity, focus and discipline. When one is absent, the other suffers. Writing and the creative process that accompanies it can be stifled when the mind is tired, unfocused and scattered; and, the physical body can suffer if one sits too long, too often. Walking, without the inspiration it unlocks with the venues it takes one through and the endorphins it releases, is just a sweaty proposition that helps the body but neglects the mind. On the other hand, walking and writing neglect neither; and, that is the main reason why walking is one of the best tools in any writer’s arsenal of relaxation techniques and creative release.
By Tiffany Cook