In the 18th email from the 50 days of writing by David Perell, David showcases two examples of people who write while or after walking.
By writing while you walk, he means to say -
Next time you’re struggling to write, close your computer and go for a walk instead. Depending on what your brain needs, you can listen to the sounds of nature or blast music into your eardrums. Get outside and wander. Like a good meditation, put your intuition in charge and don’t steer your thoughts. If you walk frequently enough and capture your best ideas when you do, you’ll shatter the chains of writer's block.
In this email David mentions the following points:
- Walking creates space for big-picture writing.
- It creates time to generate ideas and organize the flow of your articles.
David also writes that whenever you feel stuck, close the work you are stuck at and do something else. This will put your intuition in charge and while your brain will have that problem somewhere in the back of the mind, you will actually resonate with what the senses are feeling and try to find similarities in them.
This is something I have mentioned in one of my previous notes, phenomenon of Neuroplasticity - which means the ability of the brain to form and reorganize synaptic connections, especially in response to learning or experience or following injury.
There are studies from Stanford University that say walking improves creativity.
Steve Jobs, Jack Dorsey, Morgan Housel and Beethoven - everybody walked and they say it is to clear their head and keep them focused which brings out exemplary performances. So, the question is needed to be asked - What does walking do to our brain? - short answer: It begins with changes to our chemistry.
This article from The New Yorker states the following message -
Walking on a regular basis promotes new connections between brain cells, staves off the usual withering of brain tissue that comes with age, increases the volume of the hippocampus (a brain region crucial for memory), and elevates levels of molecules that both stimulate the growth of new neurons and transmit messages between them.
When we go for a walk, the heart pumps faster, circulating more blood and oxygen not just to the muscles but to all the organs—including the brain. Many experiments have shown that after or during exercise, even very mild exertion, people perform better on tests of memory and attention.
Personally, keeping the studies apart, walking helps in clearing our mind. It will declutter the things that are unnecessary and once you get back to what you were doing - you will feel better. So, In case you are stuck with a problem - start walking. It can be just a walk around your neighborhood. As a writer, you will find better ideas and references as a result.
Thank you for reading.
For more of Perell's work, you can signup for the 50 Days of Writing Course by clicking and signing up to receive one mail every day with an amazing take on writing.