Today I decided to walk to work. It’s a reasonably long walk, about forty minutes, but the morning was bright and I had the time. It’s a nice walk, along a main residential road, past fields and under a railway bridge, along a reservoir and, finally, crossing a sylvan canal basin and heading up past what is reputed to be the site of a king’s hunting lodge. Nothing remains now except a fragment of red brick wall with a Tudor rose on it, incorporated into the more modern (but still a couple of centuries old) house now on the site.
It’s been a while since I’ve had a really long walk. And today I realised how much I’d missed it. I still do the school walks each morning and afternoon, but my days being what they are at the moment I don’t usually have the time to wander further. However, today’s walk made me determined to find the time.
Apart from the exercise, I find walking to be a wonderful time to think. I’ve worked out countless plot points, untangled knotty problems and generally put my life into some sort of order. For some reason it works for me. However, I do need a destination – I can’t just walk aimlessly.
Apparently Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote the lyrics to his wildly popular Hamilton while on his afternoon walks, while William Blake, Wordsworth and JK Rowling are just a few of the many other writers who found inspiration while out for a wander. Recent studies have found that, when we walk, our brain activity increases, as does connectivity between important brain circuits, boosting our mood.
Today I managed to sort out some time management stuff, as well as reconcile a couple of character threads in my current WIP. I also got some exercise and fresh air, arriving at work on time. I realise I’m fortunate to be able to walk to work – however, even when I had to take public transport to previous jobs I always managed to fit in a walk of some kind, whether it was by getting off several stops early or heading out during my lunch break.
So it was nice to rediscover the joy of walking today, and to feel the familiar story telling wheels begin to turn once more in my mind. Looking forward to seeing where the walk takes me next week…
‘Me thinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow.’ Henry David Thoreau
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With weight loss, I’ve got into walking and noticed how it’s good for untangling life’s problems, plot holes and the like. Lovely post Helen, couldn’t put it better myself.
Thanks so much, Jools 🙂 Yes, I’ve found the positive effect on my waistline is a nice side effect of all the walking, as well as sorting out all the writing stuff. I’ll definitely be getting out more often now the weather is improving 🙂
Well expressed, Helen! I find walking gives me such great perspective – I can be worried about all sorts of things that are distracting me from writing, but then I get out into the woods and suddenly realise ‘none of that matters at all!’
Thanks, Claire! And that’s a lovely way to put it, that when you get out into the woods none of it matters at all 🙂 That’s just how I feel too.
I’m with you there, Helen. Walking always help me sort out writing problems.
Glad to hear it, Mick – it really does work, doesn’t it?
Every time, Helen!
I need to get out and do this as soon as the weather allows!
I hope it picks up soon – Spring does seem to be on its way *crosses fingers and looks around nervously* 🙂
It’s supposed to be in the sixties here today. A nice Spring preview.
That sounds lovely – very Spring-like indeed 🙂
Beautiful piece, Helen. I love my walks for the same reasons as you, and I’m lucky to have two furry friends who need them daily! 🙂 I’m definitely in the Henry David Thoreau camp.
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