WRITING EXERCISE: Walk it out

We’re going on a story hunt…

Forget about the housework, stick on your stomping shoes and let’s get out of here.

Image of a green man on a traffic light with text: walk it out

Today’s task is a super easy one, but something most of us don’t ever really think to do – particularly when we’re feeling stuck, or getting a little jaded about our writing. That’s right, we’re getting the fuck out of the house and going for a walk.

Countryside walks are nice. Seaside walks are refreshing. Urban walks are atmospheric. But it really doesn’t matter where you walk – it’s the act of moving your hunched-up writer’s body, breaking out of your writer’s den, straightening your writer’s spine, blowing the cobwebs out of your writer’s brain, and inspiring your writer’s senses with everything you see, hear and smell on your journey.

Writers need downtime. We need ‘magical thinking moments’ where ideas can percolate, plot tangles being to unravel, and we’re able to look at our work with a fresh perspective. And a simple little walk is perfect for all of that.

So put your laptop or notebook away. Turn off your phone, Grab your keys and go a’wandering for a while.

Don’t force yourself to actively think about your writing while you walk, just keep one foot in front of the other and see what pops into your head.

Maybe a piece of graffiti catches your eye.

Maybe a cloud formation makes you go “oooh”.

Maybe an overheard conversation inspires story dialogue.

Maybe an entirely new narrative will unfold itself as you go…

Gif of the Rooster from Disney's Robin Hood walking along playing his lute.

An Important Note: If you have mobility issues and walking is a problem for you, ANY kind of travel will serve the same purpose. Bus rides, road trips, train journeys, whatever. But somehow the act of movement – going from here to there – lights up dormant parts of your brain and gets them firing again.

So get out there.

That’s it. That’s the whole exercise. That’s as complicated as it gets. JUST. GO.

Do it before your writing session for a fluff-free head.

Do it when you’re feeling stuck.

Do it when you really don’t feel like writing but want to do something productive.

Do it every day if you can.

[For bonus points and a virtual gold star, take a picture of something that inspired you on your walk and post it on our writing forum!]

Now, off you pop.

Jo Gatford

Jo Gatford

Jo is a writer who procrastinates about writing by writing about writing. She looks exactly like her avatar.
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