One of my favorite physical activities is trail running. I like the simplicity: trail shoes, dog, and open woods. I love the focus it requires on the few feet of roots and rocks and earth in front of me so I don’t fall on my ass. I love the wildness I feel crashing through the trees. More about that here.
I never listen to music. I don’t really care about my time or pace or racing. I just like to clear my head and pay attention to my surroundings.
My favorite trail running accessory is to bring a book problem with me. What is a book problem, you may ask? It is a plot point in my novel I can’t quite figure out. It is a chapter I don’t yet know how to end. It is a character I’m debating whether or not I should eliminate. And magically, like tangled threads pulling free, the solution for my novel often comes to me on these runs. And then some.
Now, although this may seem like an easy excuse to avoid frothing at the mouth over our keyboards when we are in the thick of writing, it is actually an important break our minds need. Why?
Our bodies are smarter than our minds.
The real truths, the honest emotions, lie there. And we, as writers, need to access those truths through movement. Through getting out of our heads and into our bodies. This is how we tap into our creative intuition when feeling stuck.
Some writers swear by regular long walks. Other swear their best ideas come in the shower. For me, it is on the trails.
I think all writers can improve their creativity and their creative process by taking breaks for movement--to sweat, to breath, to flex our muscles--to move those buried words up to the surface.