This may not sound like a writing tip, but it is – take a walk!
This week, articles in BBC News Magazine (Rohrer, 2014) and The New York Times (Reynolds, 2014) have highlighted research on the relationship between walking and creativity. Oppezzo and Schwartz (2014) conducted the study that was the subject of both articles. They demonstrated through a series of four experiments that walking boosts creative thinking.
Of course, this is not news to many writers. Rohrer (2014) shares anecdotes about the walking habits of some famous and prolific writers. Rohrer also quotes Geoff Nicholson, author of The Lost Art of Walking, as saying, “There is something about the pace of walking and the pace of thinking that goes together. Walking requires a certain amount of attention but it leaves great parts of the time open to thinking. I do believe once you get the blood flowing through the brain it does start working more creatively… Your senses are sharpened. As a writer, I also use it as a form of problem solving. I’m far more likely to find a solution by going for a walk than sitting at my desk and ‘thinking’.”
So when you are feeling stuck and stressed in your writing and drained of all ideas, step away and just go take a walk. Things will get clearer!
Oppezzo, M., & Schwartz, D. L. (2014). Give your ideas some legs: The positive effect of walking on creative thinking. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1037/a0036577
Reynolds, G. (2014, April 30). Want to be more creative? Take a walk. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/04/30/want-to-be-more-creative-take-a-walk/?ref=health
Rohrer, F. (2014, May 1). The slow death of purposeless walking. BBC News Magazine. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-27186709