When I’m looking for inspiration or have a writing-related problem, going for a run or walk helps me to think clearly. Sometimes I start thinking of lines for my writing, other times I think about the structure of a piece of writing. The process of walking and running has become an important part of my creative practice. Basically, it helps me think and get new ideas.
As part of my MA in writing at Sheffield Hallam University, I’m exploring the link between creativity and movement, particularly running and walking. I’ve been doing some reading recently which suggests that place and where you walk or run has a big impact on writing. When you think about the work of Charles Dickens who walked in the city, and William Wordsworth who walked in the country this makes perfect sense.
I like to run and walk in the country. I like to explore new places. But this winter I’ve only been able to train at night which means my possibilities for exploration were limited. Things weren’t helped by the fact that the Yorkshire village where I live doesn’t have any street lights. In terms of creativity and inspiration, pounding the pavements in the dark hasn’t been great.
My partner, Chris, and I decided it was time for a day out. We headed to the seaside town of Whitby, North Yorkshire. I was hoping to find some inspiration for my writing not to mention visiting a few bookshops and enjoying fish and chips.
It was cold but we walked around the town and climbed the 199 steps to the abbey, stopping to take some photographs along the way. Just the process of strolling seems to help with creativity and relaxation. I think it’s a combination of the change of scenery and the rhythm of movement. Whatever the reason, it definitely helps. I returned home that evening and wrote the next chapter of my novel. The words just poured out. I couldn’t stop. The problems I’d been having with structure seemed to fade away. It seems that a day out in Whitby can work wonders for creativity and inspiration.
Many writers say walking or exercise helps with their creativity and writing. I completely agree, but I’m also trying to explore why it helps and investigate the impact it has on my writing and my writing practice. Does walking help you to write? Are you a runner? Do you think about your writing, or even compose on the run? I would love to hear your thoughts. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact me through the blog.
About me: I’m a freelance writer and copywriter in Yorkshire. I’ve recently become a full-time freelance writer, which you can read about here.