If you’ve got a dog then you’ll probably already understand the appeal of having some time to yourself each day to go for a walk and think about things. As a writer I find this time invaluable. You see the thing about having a dog is it’s the perfect opportunity to strike up a conversation with a complete stranger. As the dogs sniff about greeting each other, the owners exchange pleasantries about the weather and their dogs but sometimes it’s amazing just how chatty and revealing people can be. This is a gift for me as a writer to get brief snippets of strangers’ lives and stumble across all kinds of interesting characters. On my daily walks I take mental notes of the different people I meet and file them away for possible future use as a walk-on character in a story. There’s the friendly but incomprehensible man who walks his dog at the same time each day in the local park; the young night shift guy who takes his excitable Pug for a walk before he’s able to get some sleep; and the frazzled mum contending with a baby and a puppy.
I started a new WIP last week and I found that I got most of my ideas for it while out walking. There’s something about being away from my laptop (and the distractions of Twitter and the Internet) that helps fuel my imagination. A brisk walk in the fresh air helps the creative juices to flow. Going for a walk each day this week gave me the chance to work out plot ideas and think about characters – in-between trying to stop Frodo from rolling in mud (or worse), eating everything in sight and chasing birds. The same way as sleeping on an issue – whether that issue is with writer’s block or difficulty with a plot – can help, going for a walk can clear your head and help sort out those tricky chapters or awkward characters.
What helps get your creative juices flowing?