Writers: go for a walk.

Writing can be a lonely business. And we can be a grumpy lot when it comes to distractions.

You could spend an hour creating the next part of your novel in your head as you write; a latticework of thoughts and feelings, fragile as glass, that you can twist and turn in your mind and rush down onto the page before your ideas fade like a waking dream.

Then someone walks in while you’re in the middle of it, and the whole thing shatters and leaves only the big, vague ideas again. And all the other person sees is a grumpy person hunched over their keyboard, giving them nothing but a dark stare. If you catch yourself doing this, then it’s time to get outside.

It can do writers a world of good just to take a walk, on our own or with someone else, and just step outside our own heads for a little bit. When we get outside, we can let our minds come up for air.

It may even give you another angle on that chapter you’ve been struggling with. Or, it may give you an hour or two not to think about the book at all. Both are good; just let your walk take whatever shape it wants to. It’s some time apart, to let your battery-hen brain become a free-range chicken for a while. It may even pop out some better ideas when it comes back to roost. Or even some better chicken metaphors. (Can you tell I need a walk?)

There’s the health benefits too, of course. Sedentary lifestyles aren’t doing any of us any favours. We use next to no muscles sitting at a desk: arms, fingers, and maybe our frown muscles. Get outside and use them, or you will indeed lose them.

If you’re hunched over a screen for hours on end, you can come away from your desk with battery acid in your shoulders too. I’ve found stretching to be the best fix, and there are loads of videos on YouTube that could help you here. I get grumpy when I’m hungry too, so I’m about to remedy that situation and then head out and do the whole walk-in-nature thang.

Oh, and most importantly, get some sunshine-based vitty-D goodness in you. If like me you live in a place where people sound exactly like Ned Stark with their weather predictions, you’ll know that sunshine is as rare as unicorn shite this time of year. So get out in it and frolic, and/or walk seriously in an adult fashion. Anyway, see yous in a bit. I’m off for a walk.

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