5 Benefits of Walking for Writers
“I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.” -
Throughout time, writers have benefits from walking. There’s something about disconnecting from everything, and going out for a saunter in the great outdoors (or down some city street), that does absolute wonders for you. With technology, however, it’s also pretty easy to squander that priceless walking time by filling it with noise. If you’re having trouble coming up with a verse, writing a blog post, or even just finishing a Tweet, going for a walk might be just what you need. That’s because…
Walking Helps Inspire Writers
One of the reasons why writing is so hard is because it cannot be prepackaged and sold, like many other more reliable skills. This is just as true for professional writing as it is for fiction writing or more artistic writing. There is a struggle inherent to the process. If you have the blessing of writing for a living, then it is indeed your job to wrestle daily. In the words of Stephen King:
“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”
Indeed, when your livelihood depends on it, sometimes the answer to your inspiration can come out in a rather forced way. It can be difficult when your writing talent “doubles as a paper-maker” in the words of the great musical duo, 21 Pilots. However, regardless of where you find yourself on your writer’s journey, it’s almost been proven (as anything can be proven when it comes to creativity) that going for a walk will supercharge your creative process.
This is especially true if you leave your phone behind. I know. It’s hard. I love to listen to things as I walk. But there’s nothing like the sound of wind, the flickering light of the setting sun on leaves, to get your inspiration flowing 100%.
“Only thoughts won by walking are valuable.” — Friedrich Nietzsche
Walking Improves a Writer’s Mood
According to studies, walking is not only good for getting creative — it also boosts your mood. Simultaneously, it also helps you escape. When you feel crowded, overrun with deadlines, pressures and expectations, walking is just the thing you need. Again, this is largely dependent on leaving the smart phone at home. Recently, I’ve found that even just having it in my pocket when I go out for a jaunt with someone causes my mind to wander flightily away from the present and back into my worries. Our world today is overrun with worries. Don’t let them ruin your walk.
“If I couldn’t walk fast and far, I should just explode and perish.” — Charles Dickens
Walking Helps Writers Connect with Others
You probably didn’t even think about this one. That’s because you’re so busy spending your day-to-day pouring over Tweets from your isolated corner at your desk to realize that you are not only a human typewriter, but also just a human being. Plain and simple. Walking helps you connect with others. Is there something you’ve been having trouble telling a loved one? Take him or her for a walk. Is there something you’ve had trouble working out for yourself. Go for a walk with somebody and talk it out. Research shows the correlation between creative thoughts and communication with walking. This is particularly important for writers. So much of our lives are spent alone, working on our creative enterprise. But we still need those human relationships in order to stay healthy, happy. Ultimately, relationships is why we do this crazy job in the first place!
“I would walk along the quais when I had finished work or when I was trying to think something out. It was easier to think if I was walking and doing something or seeing people doing something that they understood.” — Ernest Hemingway
Walking Improves Gut Health
You may not always have the energy or will power to make it to the gym. But chances are tackling a brisk walk is much more reasonable a thing to fit into your day-to-day. What’s more, walking can have a massive benefit for your gut health. And a lot of research shows the dependency of your overall sense of wellbeing on the health of your gut. There’s nothing better for clearing out our system, both mentally and physically, than going for a walk.
If you can’t tell, I absolutely love to walk. I walk almost every day, and when I travel, one of the things I look forward to most are the new places that I’ll get to walk through. Like these much greater writers, I also find walking to be a great source of creativity and new ideas. Here’s to walking! May we never stop.
Originally published at https://www.josephwriteranderson.com on March 9, 2020.