Writer’s Desk: Go for a Walk

The answer to dealing with many different downturns or challenges is invariably quite simple: Take a walk. As Andrew McCarthy notes in the Times, this simple practice has broad benefits that have been noticed by many learned types:

Hippocrates proclaimed that walking is man’s best medicine.’ The good doctor also knew that walking provided more than mere physical benefits when he suggested: ‘If you are in a bad mood, go for a walk. If you are still in a bad mood, go for another walk’ … Soren Kierkegaard agreed when he confessed, ‘I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it.’ And Charles Dickens was even more direct. ‘If I could not walk far and fast,’ he wrote, ‘I think I should just explode and perish.’

The habit of taking a brisk and short, or long and rambling, walk applies more specifically to writing:

William Wordsworth swore by walking, as did Virginia Woolf. So did William Blake. Thomas Mann assured us, ‘Thoughts come clearly while one walks.’ J.K. Rowling observed that there is ‘nothing like a nighttime stroll to give you ideas,’ while the turn-of-the-20th-century novelist Elizabeth von Arnim concluded that walking ‘is the perfect way of moving if you want to see into the life of things.’

So go for a stroll. Your desk will still be there when you get back.

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