Saturday, September 6, 2008

Walking Out the Kinks

I gave myself a present when I retired. It was a present no one else could give me--the promise to start (and maintain) a regular walking regime.

At least three times a week for over a year now I've taken a brisk walk, covering about three km. each day. I rarely meet anyone else on the trail that I take, only the occasional dog-walker or rider on horseback. The trail is an old railway bed, so I don't have to worry about cars, although there is one gent who likes to take his kids for a ride there, in a slow-moving golf cart.

I take the same route every time, but it's never boring, because my walk has become more than the cardio-vascular workout I intended it to be. It has become a time to work out the kinks in whatever piece of writing I'm working on.

No ear phones for me. I don't want to listen to anything while I walk, only the chatter of birds (a whole tree filled with them yesterday), the screech of cicadas and the rhythmic crunch of gravel under my shoes. I want to be able to think, and I need quiet for that.

My story characters are always in my head, living with me over the time it takes to finish the novel. It's natural that I'll be thinking about the story as I walk. I'll be searching for the right words to make that bit of dialogue real, or pondering how to write a smooth transition between scenes. There's always something.

By the time I get home, 30 or 40 minutes later, I'll be ready to see how the words in my head look on paper. Often I'll find the problem is solved.

Why not try taking your writing for a walk? You may be pleasantly surprised at the results.

Walk on.


No comments: