Walking and writing are two activities that go together like bacon and eggs. Walking increases the heart rate causing more blood to flow to the brain. Thoreau once wrote “Methinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow.” James Joyce, Virginia Wolff, Vladimir Nabokov were all hard core walkers. According to Leo Tolstoy the fifth rule of life is to walk for an hour every day. (He also suggested one should visit a brothel only twice a month.)
I find my thoughts are more cohesive and my words flow easier after my daily walk. If I am having difficulty with a scene, a 20 minute walk will usually resolve the issue. I try to walk five miles a day, two miles in the morning, two more in the afternoon and several short strolls in between. I started my regimen in July of 2015. Since that time I have walking some 2,170 miles and lost 65 lbs. More importantly, my writing has improved in quality as well as quantity.
Walking is a form of meditation for me. Within the first 5 minutes, I find my thoughts are clearer and more defined. Sometimes I consider a specific character. What does he look like? How will she react to a specific situation? Other times I consider reflect on a yet to be written scene. Then there are times when I think of nothing at all. For lack of a better term, I allow my mind to reboot.
I may not follow all of Tolstoy’s rules of life, but for me, walking is an essential part of being a writer.