The Writing Walk

For any writer put off by the blank screen and finding it hard to get started on a poem, a short story, the scene of a novel or whatever, I would suggest switching to a notebook and pen. Time-consuming it may be, but there’s something special about writing this way and for me anyway, the blank page is more of a friendly invitation than the rather scary blank screen in my office.

And it’s more portable and sun-friendly. I often pack some water and a notebook and pen in a rucksack and head off on a writing walk. Exercise and getting some work done – it’s a double whammy and hard to resist when the sun is shining.

First – switch off your phone, or even better leave it behind. Then, the exercise bit – this might involve climbing up a cliff path or walking along a beach until you get past all the people, but it could equally be walking to the park or a café, or wherever you think you might like to sit down and do some writing.

It’s not only exercise though – this is multi-tasking at its best. Whilst walking (or running or cycling or whatever) you can look around you, let your mind wander, do a bit of nature (or town) appreciation. It’s calming. The rhythm of the walking bit, the mind-wandering bit, the nature bit – I believe all these help you relax and forget other non-writing related problems that might be on your mind. They’re a kind of lead-in into the sort of head-zone that helps us to write.

Sometimes though, I might be walking in order to sort out a plot problem. In this case, I’ll let – even encourage – the work to come into my head as I walk. But I don’t let myself stop too soon in order to write things down. Oh, no. Instead, I’ll drive myself crazy by mulling things over, by letting the thoughts crowd in (in an ideal world) by listening to all the characters as they gabble away to one another. When I come to my stopping place I can’t wait to start writing. Frankly, I’d go even crazier if I couldn’t…

Hopefully you’ll have a place in mind. I have a few. One of my favourites is overlooking a local beach, but I also like being on any beach watching the ocean, in the woods or in a quiet park on a bench with birds singing their hearts out. Even a noisy café can work for many people – it’s easier to shut out that kind of noise than it is just one person talking on the phone at home (or so I have found – haha).

Once there, have a swig of water, relax, take in your surroundings and get your notebook out. And if nothing comes to mind, then write about where you are, what you can see, smell, hear, touch or taste. Write about how you feel or how you felt yesterday. Just get in the zone. It doesn’t matter what you write. It matters that you write. And enjoy.



© Rosanna Ley
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