When I attended college, the university required a physical education class prior to graduation. I chose walking. A friend of mine who attended my college’s major rival asked me if Crawling 101 was the prerequisite. I laughed off the joke but didn’t laugh off the class. My college takes its physical education classes seriously and this class required a bit of exertion. Each week, three days a week, the teacher led the class around three different routes with varying degrees of hills and straightaways. No matter the day, I always had a story in my mind. At the time, I dismissed any idea of becoming a writer.
For a long time, I continued to fight my desire to write. But I love walking, whether on a track, through a neighborhood or on a treadmill. No matter where I walked I always would think about what it would be like to write books: what would my characters say to each other, what plot devices would I utilize, and where would the characters live. It finally hit me that I needed to write.
So for me, walking and writing have always gone hand in hand. Walking allows me the freedom to consider the paths my characters will travel, the traits they will have, and the next scenes they will occupy. For a little over a year, I’ve worked out many a plot detail on a treadmill or on an exercise bike.
Today was different. Or at least I told myself it was going to be different. After another rejection letter, I was going to just exercise. Just walk on the treadmill without plotting my next book. Without thinking about the characters in my next book. Without thinking about writing.
That’s what I told myself. That’s not what happened. Instead, I thought about my opening. I even moved over one important scene to a different part of the book. And I planned out more details of the scene. At one point, I caught myself thinking about the book and increased the speed on the treadmill. Didn’t matter. I still thought about my next book. That’s when I hit me. Walking is a part of my writing routine. Exercise is a part of my writing routine. I use walking and exercise to figure out what I need to work on in my book. Because I’m a writer and that’s part of how I plan my books.
What about you? What helps you write? Do you come up with your ideas while waiting in traffic, while exercising, while making dinner? Let me know.