The Creative Walk

I walk. It’s a defining characteristic, a must-do every day. These are not long walks, they rarely qualify as hikes, but for me a walk is frequently–maybe always–a creative walk.

I read this article about walking about a year ago. I nodded in agreement through most of it, but was certainly surprised to learn all that was happening in my brain as I walked. What did not surprise me were the creative people cited in the article who were devoted walkers. I loved that Nietzsche said that “only thoughts reached by walking have value.” I don’t agree–I have some perfectly fine thoughts while gardening–but I love that. For me, lacing on my sneakers and stepping out the door is my invitation to my creative side to do the same, to get going on figuring out a problem in my current book, or tease out a character’s motivation, or expand on an unexpected subplot that showed up that morning while writing. Where I live, a river weaves through town and a narrow park runs alongside it. For about two years, when I walked through that park, noting the moods of the river and the birds who made their homes along it, I worked on my novel As the Crow Flies. It’s a rare day when I take that same walk and don’t think of that book, recalling the pleasure of being able to work on it as I took my creative walk. You may not have a river to walk along or a captivating city like Dublin, as featured in the Guardian article, to amble through, but even a walk around the block could spark your creativity. Appreciate all the mental stimulation you’re achieving just with that simple walk, and then give your creative side a nudge, encourage it to spark and whir and … well, create.

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