Beating Writer’s Block: Go For a Walk

Go For a Walk

A surprisingly simple way to overcome Writer’s Block and get yourself in the mood to work again (if you call it work) is to go for a walk. Keep in mind, this doesn’t mean hopping on a treadmill for a few minutes. You’ll need to be dressed for the weather outside. There are a couple of reasons this helps.

Firstly, you’ll get a change of scenery.

It’s easy to become distracted by everything around you at your desk, or become so familiar with your surroundings that you find yourself bored. Leaving the house offers you a chance to see a little bit of the neighbourhood, whether it’s your own, or one near your office, or the general area around the coffee shop you’re working from.

Obviously, you can’t take advantage of this if you write while on your commute, but for those who write from home, you’ve got the chance to take control of your surroundings. Pick a route that you know you can’t get lost on, but not necessarily one you take every day. A bit of variation from the norm can do you some good.

As well as the benefit of the new surroundings, you’ll be getting two things you won’t get in your chair: fresh air and exercise.

The former is the reason a walk on the treadmill won’t work, aside from the scenery. Exercising outdoors will allow your body to receive a lot more oxygen, which can help you think more easily.

Give yourself a short route – fifteen to twenty minutes at a moderate pace – before sitting back down to write. I advise also bringing a glass of water, not tea or coffee, back to the desk with you, to rehydrate properly. Caffeinated drinks can wait until a little bit later, assuming it’s still early enough in the day for you to drink them.

Time to take action: When you get back to work, you have a couple of options you can take.

The first is to get back to what it was you were writing that you’d found difficulty with. If you find you can write again, you have no problems.

If, however, the words are still a little bit difficult to come up with, describe your walk. Describe the way it made you feel, write down any thoughts you had while you were out – even if it’s just that you haven’t walked like that in a while. Describe the trees and the buildings, the people you saw, the people you spoke to. If you’re a poet, make it a poem. If you write prose, make it a descriptive paragraph.

If you really want to, write about how your character would have experienced that walk. What would have been going through his or her mind at the time? Would they have found it peaceful, or would it have been an interruption to their day? Use your walk as an opportunity to get to know the people you’re writing about.


About Paul Carroll

Paul Carroll is a writer, born, raised and still living in Dublin. By day he's a student and bookseller, by night he writes fiction and uses social media.
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