It’s no secret that leaving your desk and getting your blood flowing helps generate energy and new ideas. But as the days get darker and colder, and you plunge deeper into your NaNoWriMo masterpiece, it’s hard to muster the willpower to get up from your cozy study and put on your running shoes. Here are a few articles to remind you of the importance of taking a break and getting some fresh air.
The Atlantic recently published a fantastic article on “Why Writers Run,” which examines the similarities between running and writing, and discusses how many authors use the mental space running creates as a part of their writing process. Nick Ripatrazone writes: “The steady, repetitive movement of distance running triggers one’s intellectual autopilot, freeing room for creative thought. Neuroscientists describe this experience as a feeling of timelessness, where attention drifts and imagination thrives.”
Two famous contemporary writers who consider running an integral part of their creative life are Joyce Carol Oates and Haruki Murakami. Years ago, Oates wrote this great piece in The New York Times about how running informs her narratives, in which she says: “Stories come to us as wraiths requiring precise embodiments. Running seems to allow me, ideally, an expanded consciousness in which I can envision what I’m writing as a film or a dream. I rarely invent at the typewriter but recall what I’ve experienced.” Well. In his New Yorker essay “The Running Novelist,” Murakami talks about his daily running routine, and how he became a writer. And, in case you needed more convincing, here is an article from The Guardian that talks about running as a cure for writer’s block.
If running just isn’t your thing, taking a stroll will get your creative juices flowing. This article explores the science that links how (and where) we walk and how we think, and talks about how famous writers from Henry David Thoreau to William Wordsworth relied on the imaginative territory long walks provide.
And, just for fun, you might want to check out Electric Literature’s “Yoga for Writers” infographic for a laugh and Flavorwire’s photographs of famous authors playing sports for a little visual inspiration.
by Sadye Teiser