Welcome to Writers Talkback. If you are a new user, your account will have to be approved manually to prevent spam. Please bear with us in the meantime


edited July 2012 in - Writing Tales
Been a bit stuck with my writing for the past couple of weeks but I managed to unstick myself with a good, long, early-morning walk around London before work. I know Dickens used to walk a lot while to thought out his stories. Will Self is well-known for his long walks. I'm sure that I read somewhere ages ago about Stephen King doing lots of walking but can't remember where.Does anyone else out there use walking as a way of relaxing and letting their imaginations get unstuck? I'm thinking of getting myself a voice recorder for when I'm out for a walk but feel a bit silly about using one of these in public. Any advice on how I can get used to this, and stop being so self-conscious?


  • edited July 2012
    You could always hire someone to walk a few steps behind you with a notebook recording your every word.
    Tha's a bit less noticeable I'd have thought.

    Actually, people do walk along talking to themselves Robert, into mobile phones on their earholes and the like. Could you purchase as similar device yet one that records?

    edited to say: I do actually walk quite a lot and find that helps me clear my thoughts, I just scribble them down once I get home or note a few key points as I walk along/stop at lamp posts, that sort of thing
  • Good advice from Dora. If you're self concious then have the voice recorder app turned on so when you have an idea hold the phone to your mouth as though you are making a call.
  • People walk about chatting into their mobiles all the time, Robert; get a mini-recorder with a headset, and pretend you are a very busy person for whom time is money! Or you could just be the local colour - the man everyone looks at sideways because he's always talking tom himself, which guarantees that no-one will interrupt.
    Walking is excellent exercise, and exercise gees the brain up (when you've got over being knackered by it all).
  • Yes I find walking always helps me when I am stuck with ideas.
    Once I walked back from town ( 25 mins) and composed a whole poem in my head for the WM Xmas poetry comp. That one was shortlisted. If I am worried I will forget anything I take out my note book and jot things down wherever I am. I have never thought about taking my voice recorder and not sure I would as I already have enough to carry in my handbag with reading specs, sunglasses, phone, purse etc!
  • I do quite a lot of walking for both work and leisure, as I have never learned to drive, so I often fathom out my stories when walking. I used to use the recording facility on my old phone, but have not yet worked out how to on my new one.
  • Thanks. Will just have to get used to walking along with microphone. Only just getting used to writing on the train without worrying about people reading what I'm writing. I've decided that probably noone else can decipher my handwriting so it doesn't really matter.
  • Sometimes I go for a walk around the block to clear my head or simply because I want to. I always take my Ipod with me and listen to it as I walk along. Sometimes I get ideas just by walking but not often. That's just me, different people work in different ways.
  • i actually mentioned the self-same thing in my blog today!
    You could get one of those in-the-ear things then people would think you're talking on the phone. Or there's a new watch/mobile phone I saw advertised - you'd look like a CIA bloke talking into your wrist. I take a notebook. Are you out too early to pop into a cafe with a notebook if you're struck with inspiration?
    Writing on the train probably makes you look intellectual.
  • I actually have my best creative writing ideas in the shower - usually good for solving plot holes. I think it's because it's about the only time when I'm not using my brain for anything else; even when dog walking I'm usually chatting to another dog walker or the dog!
  • I walk a lot to and from work, but I never think creatively while I walk, it just gets in the way. I leave all that for when I get home to my office where I can work in peace and quiet, which is how I've always worked. Noise distracts me.
  • Walking, and lying in the bath, are the two best things for helping me come up with new ideas.
  • So long as you walk alone and are in the bath alone - both are good places for ideas to flow.
  • edited July 2012
    Hmmm.... I need to do more walking but (and I know this is a little stupid) I always feel self-consious if I go for a walk on my own. I feel I either look like I've misplaced my dog or that I've left the house on an arguement.
  • Why is that Emma? I often see people walking on their own in the park or along the river here. Nobody thinks that's weird. Now if you took one of those leads that has an invisible dog at the end it would give people something to look at :)
  • I often walk by myself. One morning I was reciting aloud the Greek alphabet ready for an exam. I didn't see anyone else but maybe they all walked in another direction thinking that I might be a loony.
  • I take it you didn't see notice how crowded the other side of the street was then Stan? ;)
  • Hmmm.... I'm gathering it's just me that feels a little self consious walking alone then??
  • Think it depends on where you are walking, and how. ;)
  • [quote=dora]I take it you didn't see notice how crowded the other side of the street was then Stan? [/quote]

    I was so engrossed in me reciting....
  • I think I may just be a very self consious person. Last night I went swimming for the first time in a while, I figured it was a good alternative to the gym and I'd been craving a good swim, probably from watching the Olympics.

    I actually hated it because nearly all the women were in pairs! I know it's pathetic but I felt so alone! I ended up not staying for the full hour and left feeling really low. I think walking would have been a better option after all, usually the outdoors perks me up in itself.
  • Emma, not sure if it'll help at all but I used to feel like you sometimes.

    The outdoors will perk you up as it's exercise and it's fresh air. You carry on walking alone and stuff everyone else. :)

    This may not be something you'd like to contemplate, but are there any groups in your area you could join
    in something you might enjoy? For example, netball, or badminton? You could ring and explain you're interested in
    taking part in a healthy activity but won't know anyone there. You don't have to say much more except you want to join but you'll be on your own.

    I'm sure once you tell the organiser that they'll make sure everyone makes a special effort to bring you into the group. These groups depend on people joining them, so they'll be pleased to see you.

    Or how about a walking group? I'm sure there must be something in your area. You walk and talk with people.

  • Thanks dora you're right, there will be something somewhere that will help. It's part of the reason I've been wanting to get to the sports centre recently to be honest- so I'm meeting people. Just the idea of going to a group on my own is a little daunting but I know I'll have to bite the bullet sooner or later.

    I think I've just ended up in the situation where I've lost contact with people I went to school with, I have one or two close friends who live ages away and I rarely see and I'm finding it very hard meeting new people and it's something that does upset me. Right now I'm just trying to make an effort where I can, like the going swimming (although in hindsight that was never going to work).

    I'm just going to have to keep trying I suppose.
  • That situation happens to a lot of people, it's all part and parcel of growing up.

    Just keep reminding yourself that if you don't go out and try new situations, the one you're in will never change.

    You could always try volunteering as another option. Approach your local volunteer bureau and they'll have a chat with you about your likes and dislikes and together you'll work out which organisation you'd be best suited to help.

    There are some great groups of people out there who all join together for a common good cause and you wouldn't have to feel self conscious about being there, as they'd be extremely grateful you were. :)

    Good luck with whatever you decide to do. :)
  • Hi Robert, I think as you walk, the ideas form, then you can jot them down afterwards. Sometimes we need a break from the putting down, to alow the mind space to let the thoughts flow. I find swimming helps as well.
  • edited August 2012
    If you don't feel confident about going to things by yourself then it can be hard.
    Does your sports centre do different types of classes, Emma?

    The leisure centre I go to does a lot of different classes as well as swimming, and the majority attend by themselves, but get to know other people attending- and soon realise they do other classes with some of the same people, so having a face you then recognise helps.

    Our local (okay local is 5-10 minutes on the bus) leisure centre often does taster sessions for new classes they're starting up-especially around September. Complete strangers go to try it out and sometimes take it up.

    The latest was 'pole fitness' yes like in pole dancing, but excercises to increase fitness, and I know a few people who went and were on the wrong side of 48. :)

    In fact the next day when we went into the same studio to do our belly dancing class (the regulars are all 50+), the ceiling tiles were either dislodged or broken from the top of the poles...

    Look at it this way, Emma. You wouldn't need a friend with you to go into a shop you've never visited before if you needed to buy something from there that only they stocked. This is just like that. Good luck.
  • [quote=Emma B] I think walking would have been a better option after all, usually the outdoors perks me up in itself.[/quote]

    Outdoors + alone = cycling. A really relaxing exercise. Gets you out in the countryside and can double up as transport for most of the local journeys you undertake during the day. And it's something you can do alone, although it's great fun sharing rides with others.
  • Thanks for the support guys it has really helped me feel better about something I do have a tendancy to get work up about. I can suffer from anxiety quite a lot which doesn't help but I know I have to challenge myself if I want to change something I'm not happy about.

    Carol, yes my sports centre does different classes and I'm thinking of taking up the Thai Boxing maybe, it's something I've always wanted to do. My only concern is the possibility of a 'pairing up' scenario where I'm left without a partner but I'm sure I wouldn't be the only one with that possibility and besides if it goes badly and I hate it I just don't go back so I may give that a try.

    Thanks again everyone, this is something I really want to work on and if anyone has any other thoughts on how I can get myself 'out there' having fun and meeting people please let me know because I want to make the most of things.
  • Good luck with the Thai Boxing, I'm sure you'll be fine, and enjoy it.
  • Yes good luck with the Thai Boxing, Emma and anything else you decide to give it a go at.
  • [quote=Emma B]Thai Boxing maybe...My only concern is the possibility of a 'pairing up' scenario where I'm left without a partner [/quote] Very often in those situations, Emma, the trainer/instructor will work with the unpartnered person so that no-one is left on their own. Good luck.

    [quote=robertyaxley] I managed to unstick myself with a good, long, early-morning walk around London...Does anyone else out there use walking as a way of relaxing and letting their imaginations get unstuck?[/quote] Not sure about the relaxing part, exactly, but you're quite right; it does tend to shake a few cob-webby ideas loose, Robert. Even if one word pops into your head that wasn't there before you started, it could be the beginnings of something more. I know what you mean about talking to yourself, though. When you start to get embarrassed, just look around and tell yourself that you don't know anyone and that it's unlikely you'll see them again. Could work. Let us know how you get on.
  • I've been for a walkies this morning.
  • Good for you Stan :-)
  • Thanks!
  • Just noticed this article coincidentally:

  • [quote=Emma B] Just the idea of going to a group on my own is a little daunting [/quote]
    Email one of them first if you can, then you'll know someone to say hello to when you turn up.
    As for walking on your own - I reckon if I wear trainers I look athletic and people will assume I'm doing it for my health!
  • I went for my walkies this morning. Some time ago one dog walker said that I was sensible not to have a dog!
  • I find that I formulate much of my writing when I'm driving more than ten minutes! Not distracting at all, once I'm on the dual carriageways and motorways - the driving side of things goes onto "autopilot", although I still react rapidly and continuously - I just find my creative sector kicks-in at that point, and the words flow...

    Trouble is, if a 'big event' occurs during the journey (like getting cut-up or similar), the stress involved can sometimes blank out my mental notes, or at least abbreviate/muddle them - and as it'd downright dangerous to consider writing whilst driving, that's a no-go; using voice recorders in vehicles is as bad as a mobile phone, legally, and the darned things always pick up every rattle & squeak in the vehicle anyway, making it tough to decipher later... Just have to stick with the mental generator, eh? ;-)
  • [quote=Stan2]Some time ago one dog walker said that I was sensible not to have a dog!

    Yes because not only would you be going walkies but also bending down a lot to scooopie up pooopeeees. Quite honestly, would you really like to have to pick up a warm and squishy item after your dog had dumped it or would you rather just be walking?
  • I'd rather be just walking!
  • I came up with one of my short stories (that ended up being published) during a walk along a bush track. Walking gives you time to go into your own head.

    Actually, I find the best time for me to think about writing is when I'm mowing the lawn. Love it. Lawn mowing time is MY time, and nobody comes near me because the mower is too noisy to hold a conversation. Well, it's either that or nobody comes near me because I look dangerous with the lawnmower....hmmm.
  • I'm a walking and whilst I haven't really done much writing yet, I do find that ideas come into my head - they also appear when I'm working alone at the allotment, which is helpful as I'm now a gardening writer for an online business magazine :)

    Emma, I understand somewhat of how you feel. I was always very outgoing, confident, have a go at much - but now find that having working home-alone for 12 years, I am not so confident - it may be an age thing for me, not sure. But I do know I need to get out more with other people.
Sign In or Register to comment.