Take a Hike!

Peter LaFrance

I make this suggestion for two reasons. First, it removes you from your writing space and refreshes your perception of the world. The urban writer has it easiest. Suburban writers are at a bit of a disadvantage in that not all communities consider sidewalks a necessity. And the rural writer may lack either sidewalks or mechanized menaces but they must contend with rather rugged hiking opportunities. Nevertheless the Hike, not just a walk, is the objective rather than the method of achieving the objective.

The writing life falls into a particular rhythm. This is both beneficial and restrictive. So I recommend the following. For urban writers a half hour of city-speed walking will re-set your rhythm system to the street-rhythm of your city. By walking for fifteen minutes in one direction and then returning to the safety of your writing you can easily cover a little over a mile.

Suburban writers can incorporate a destination into the hike, such as a convenience store, or grocery. (Better yet, take the dog along.) By incorporating this destination into the hike you can not only re-set your life-style rhythm, you also accomplish a secondary achievement of your choosing.

For rural writers, a fifteen minute hike from your front door (or back door/dirt room) will probably find you either approaching the neighbor’s fence-line or minding your footing halfway up the side of a good-sized hill. No matter the season either place will give you a chance to smell the leaves underfoot, the fresh earth your boot turned over. The sense of the rhythm of the seasons is palpable.

The following is an  example of a most productive hike.

Most of the morning had been taken up with paperwork, correspondences, financial and scheduling matters. An overriding problem tied all of the preceding challenges together, the stalled development of my web site, newsletter and marketing of a series of e-books. Coordinating the three was essential and there seemed to be a “disconnect” that I was missing.

I closed up shop at two thirty and started my usual fifteen minute walk to the Waterfront Alehouse on Atlantic Avenue. Once in the relative quiet of Cadman Plaza the freshness of the breeze, aroma of new mowed grass and the sight of the flowers planted at the entrance of the park refreshed my senses. And then my brain kicked in and the answer to my mornings problems popped out of the confusion… the site was designed backwards. There should be a link on the front page to take visitors to the daily blog. All solved in less than ten minutes of walking.

That gave me five more minutes to stride to my destination and savor a well-earned beer or two.