How Walking Helped Me Become A Better Writer

Written by A Guest Author | September 14, 2016

Written By Julie Guirgis

Modern studies have shown walking may be one of the most valuable means of achieving states of literary and philosophical enlightenment. Many writers have discovered a deep, intuitive connection between walking, thinking, and writing. When we walk, the heart pumps faster, circulating more blood and oxygen to all the organs, including the brain.

Many experiments have shown that people who exercise perform better on tests of memory and attention.  And while walking doesn’t require much conscious effort, our attention is free to wander.

Where we walk is important. Some studies show that spending time in green spaces such as gardens, parks, and forests can rejuvenate the mental resources that man-made environments reduce. Psychologists have learned that attention is a limited resource that continually drains throughout the day. A crowded intersection busy with pedestrians, cars, and billboards bombards our attention, but walking past a pond in a park allows our mind to drift casually from one sensory experience to another.

One day, I was sitting at my desk, in front of a blank computer screen, trying to convince a creative thought to leap from my vacant mind to my willing fingers and onto the page. After much strain and effort, nothing was happening. This was the perfect time to test the theory that walking helps with writing, so I put on my sneakers, and headed for the front door, full of expectation and promise.

Leaving my laptop and phone behind freed me from all distractions. As I stepped outside, I inhaled the fresh air, taking in a whiff of the sweet frangipanis along my stroll, while birds sang their melodies in tall trees. The aroma and sounds took over my senses, inspiring my creative juices.

I closed my eyes to savor the moment. Scenes flashed before me in my mind’s eye, painting solid pictures for the fantasy story I was working on. I imagined the trees turning into a deep forest where creatures eyes followed me in the hollow of the trees, and envisaged it was night time with the moon casting its pale glow on me. I just allowed these wonderful images to envelop me, yielding myself to their magic.

When I arrived home, I quickly jotted down all the fresh thoughts and images. I knew if I didn’t do it right away, I would lose the flow and rhythm. Walking had created visual pictures for me to include in my story!

Getting outside my physical box helped me get outside my mental box. The simple change of scenery helped prompt new thoughts that I would never have been able to come up with while my thoughts were held hostage in my mental box.

Not only has this practice helped me physically, mentally, and creatively, but walking has helped me financially. How? I have sold short stories I have written using the imagery my walking has created. The secret to my success has been to take daily walks in nature to help me reflect, focus and inspire my writing. So, get outside with some comfy shoes and clothes, and let the sights, sounds, and smells stimulate your creativity!


Bio: Julie Guirgis is an international freelance writer. Her writing has been published in several publications including Writer’s Weekly, Transition, Majellan, Madonna, Caring Times, Eureka St, The Nathaniel Report, Signs of the Times, Adventist Review, Significant Living, Vibrant Life, Alive Now, Now What?, Insight, Guide, The Aquarian, The Edge, Creation Illustrated, Kaleidoscope, Insights, and has upcoming work in Woman Alive, and Spotlight on Recovery.