Walking, thinking and writing

One of my holiday reads was Robert Macfarlane’s [amazon_link id=”0141030585″ target=”_blank” ]The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot[/amazon_link], a very enjoyable collection of essays on his various walks, some by sea. Like Rebecca Solnit in her wonderful book [amazon_link id=”1844675580″ target=”_blank” ]Wanderlust: A History of Walking[/amazon_link], Macfarlane says the rhythm of walking helps him think.

[amazon_image id=”0141030585″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot[/amazon_image]

I agree, although often for me it’s my stately (ie. slow) jog around the park with the dog each morning. Perhaps the physical motion actually jiggles one’s brainwaves into a different state? The other mechanism I have for thinking is writing. It’s almost impossible to structure thoughts without getting words onto paper or screen, and sometimes the words seem to bypass consciousness.

The hardest thing of all is just sitting and thinking. Hence the productivity paradox: one is least likely to have good ideas by sitting at a desk trying to have good ideas, and much more likely to do so when in motion.

Not walking but running