I’m an outdoor gal—always have been, always will be. I’m also a writer, which requires sitting at a desk for a significant portion of each day. How do I reconcile the opposite ends of the spectrum and help them meet in the middle?
An early riser, I front load my day with a walk. It tends to prime the writing pump. Over the years, I’ve discovered the same thing that a STANFORD STUDY found—walking improves creativity.
“Stanford researchers found that walking boosts creative inspiration. They examined people’s creativity levels while they walked versus while they sat. A person’s creative output increased by an average of 60 percent when walking.”
Once I return from my first walk of the day, I park myself at my desk and write (and write, and write). About two hours into it, I take another walking break. I’ve learned that this habit puts me in good company.
Did you know that Steve Jobs, the late co-founder of Apple, was known for his walking meetings? Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has also been spotted holding meetings on foot.
I live a stone’s throw from the Boise River—my stomping ground. It’s here I step onto the Boise River Greenbelt and walk the pedestrians-only paved sidewalk. Twenty miles of breathtaking gorgeousness! That’s why it’s easy, rain or shine, to take three two-mile walks each day. The river beckons me, and I heed its call.
Then like a boomerang, I head back to my writing studio and continue working on my mystery/crime/thriller series. The first book in that series—Indelible: A Sean McPherson Novel, Book One—hit the shelves on April 6th.
After two more hours of writing, it’s time to walk again. Depending on the season, I might see kayakers, inner-tubers, and fly fishermen/women. In the summer, I see college students jumping from bridges into the river (it’s totally legal, but that doesn’t mean it’s wise) or plunging into the river from tire swings. Family picnics are a common sight along the riverbank as well.
When I look up (always look up, always take camera), there’s a fair to middling chance I’ll see a bald eagle—they hang out on the tippy tops of the trees that grow along the river.
I didn’t know—in fact, if I were a wagering woman, I would have LOST the bet—that it’s the act of walking itself, NOT the environment, that’s the main factor for increasing creativity. (I don’t care what Stanford researchers say, my money’s on the outdoor environment).
What is it that stirs your creative juices?