Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Ready, set, pause--for 2009!

All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking
Friedrich Nietzsche.

Do you have writer’s block once in a while? Have you experienced a growth spurt, especially around the middle or where bottom meets chair? Perhaps your ankles swell after a day’s work at the computer when inspired prose sailed through your fingers onto keys and screen?

If any of this sounds like you, it may be time to acknowledge one of the realities we face as we pursue our passion for story and the word.

To write, we sit.

If your life resembles mine, in December my chair feels more like a top spinning than a calm place from which to write. Life hurls extra work at us now: cleaning the house and decorating, shopping, baking, gift wrapping, cooking meals fussy and festive, hosting or attending social gatherings. And don’t even mention that low-key statement, some assembly required.

Whatever holidays you practice, all the extra work must be completed by the date they roll around. Deadlines are nothing new to us as writers. But during this merry season, tasks are heaped on top of looming requirements of editors and agents, or on top of self-imposed target dates we must meet if we’re to achieve our writing goals.

December’s time crunch can be a stressor, and you might want to stop the merry-go-round to pause for some time to yourself. In keeping with the gift-giving of the holiday season, why not give yourself your own present—the gift of a nice, brisk walk?

You don’t have to wait for 2009 and another set of New Year’s resolutions. You can make a modest start now and reap the benefits. Medical science tells us we receive physical and mental goodies when we walk most days of the week, even for only ten minutes a day.

All of us know that walking for exercise can set us on the path to better health, but do we realize it can spark our creativity as well?

Research and testimony support Nietzsche’s assertion. Just google around and you’ll fine a plethora of articles and studies on the walking and wellbeing connection.

Do I sound preachy? If so, I apologize. In writing this post I’m hoping both to encourage you and to help myself. After cheering you on, if I don’t walk, I’ll look pretty foolish, won’t I?

So, here’s a tip: go to http://www.walkscore.com/.

This new site has checked out more than 2,500 neighborhoods in America’s 40 largest cities. You can enter an address and get the environs’ instant walkability score, along with a map of locations such as parks, coffee shops, theatres, markets, etc.—even fitness centers—the types of things you might want to enjoy during your walk. This is useful whether you’re shopping, visiting, or aimlessly roaming. You can check out the neighborhood’s walking potential before you’re even out the door.

As you bring in the New Year, here’s another quote to ponder, one by Raymond Inmon. If you are seeking creative ideas, go out walking. Angels whisper to a man when he goes for a walk.

May you have hear whispers of many angels this holiday season!

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