One of the most important activities I do to increase my writing productivity which doesn’t initially appear to have anything to do with writing is to take a morning walk. Before I turn on the computer, sit down to write, or do any other writing activity, I go outside to walk. While it may not first appear a walk would be something to increase my writing productivity, that’s exactly what it does. In fact, I can confidently say my morning walk is the most important step I take each day when it comes to being a productive writer.
There are a number of reasons my morning walk helps improve my writing productivity. Here are a few of them:
Arrange My Thoughts
This is the biggie. My morning walk allows me to go over the topic I’m writing about so I can arrange my thoughts and what I want to write. Instead of sitting in front of the computer trying to figure out what I want to write, I’ve already done this. In a way, it’s like creating a mental first-draft of what I need to get down on paper. By sorting through all these thoughts, it allows me to begin writing as soon as I sit down in front of the computer.
Since I already have created the mental first draft, I already know exactly what I want to write when I sit at the computer. There is no staring at the computer screen wondering what I should write next. When I am writing, there’s a lot less stopping, rewriting and changing my mind. The walk allows me to have already mentally sorted through the common stopping points so all I have to do is get the words into the computer.
Taking a morning walk doesn’t only allow me time to think about my current writing, but also plan articles I can write in the future. Walking allows me to brainstorm about a variety of other topics. The result is I rarely sit in front of my computer wondering what topic I should write about next because I have a long list of topics I’ve already brainstormed on my walks.
Walking prevents me from having writer’s block. In fact, I began walking when I was having writer’s block a few years ago. It worked so well at helping me overcome it, I started to make it a part of my daily routine. That’s how I discovered it made me so much more productive. If I ever reach a point where I’m having trouble putting something down on paper, 99% of the time a short walk will help me overcome the obstacle.
Gives Me Energy
Exercise is a great way to increase energy. One of the greatest benefits from my morning walk is I feel a lot more energized. Due to this, I am able to write a lot more (and for a longer period of time) than I do when I try to write after I first wake up. My body is more alert and I feel ready to tackle the writing in front of me.
While taking a walk is what helps me write more productively, that may not be the optimal quiet activity for you to do before you sit down in front of your computer. I have a writer friend who likes to sit quietly meditating under a large oak tree in her backyard. I have another writer friend who gets her quiet time in her garden. You know yourself better than anyone, so you need to understand what works best for you so you can find the quiet time that’s most appropriate for you. It should be something that even while you’re doing it, you have the opportunity to think and consider your writing at the same time. If it allows you to do that, anything is game. (653 words)
(Photo courtesy of Patrik Nygren)