Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Feeling blocked? Take a walk!

Ever since I’ve been focused on making my Mondays {and every day} marvelous, I’ve been able to appreciate them much more and find moments to cherish and be grateful for even in the midst of busy days. Still, sometimes life feels even more chaotic than normal. Sometimes when I hear the alarm blaring on Monday morning, truly signaling the end of a fun & relaxing weekend, it’s hard for me to wake up and seize the day. Sometimes we all have those tired/headachey/blah days that feel like a series of one spilled-glass-of-milk after another.

This past Monday was an especially busy Monday for me. My “to do” list included: finish up my grading, pack to head home to California for my brother’s college graduation, and get ready for my Fifth Annual Youth Writing Camp coming up in a couple weeks, not to mention regular end-of-semester stuff like meeting with students, saying goodbye to friends who I’ll miss for the summer, and squeezing in loads of laundry and dishes so as not to leave my apartment a gross mess while I’m away for a month in California…

So my prince charming boyfriend swept me away in a magical pumpkin of sorts. He took my hand, pulled me off the couch and away from my overheated laptop, and took me for a walk around the neighborhood.

There’s something really peaceful about walking through quiet, darkened streets in the summer air. The streetlights hum, the crickets chirp, and the air is fresh and cool against my skin. I’ve always loved staying awake late — it feels like a magic time, when the rest of the world is asleep but I am still awake. It is my favorite time to daydream, think about characters and story ideas, mull over new writing projects, get outside my own head and into the world of my fiction. It was the perfect marvelous ending to an otherwise crazy-busy day!

Are you feeling blocked? Feeling burned out? Instead of pounding away in frustration at your keyboard, maybe try getting up and taking a walk. Breathe in the fresh springtime air. Roll back your shoulders. Stretch your arms above your head. Move your body and see if you feel better. I bet you will!

What are some of your favorite de-stressing or inspiration-boosting techniques, especially on those inevitable crazy-busy days?

Dallas Woodburn is the author of two award-winning collections of short stories and editor of Dancing With The Pen: a collection of today's best youth writing. Her short fiction has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize three years in a row and her nonfiction has appeared in a variety of national publications including Family Circle, Writer's Digest, The Writer, and The Los Angeles Times. She is the founder of Write On! For Literacy and Write On! Books Youth Publishing Company and is currently pursuing her Master's degree in Fiction Writing at Purdue University, where she teaches undergraduate writing courses and serves as Fiction Editor of Sycamore Review.


Magdalena Ball said...

Great advice Dallas - I think we sometimes forget how rejuvinating a walk can be. It's good for writers block too - there's a lot of creative inspiration outside (especially where I live, in the midst of a forest). Any kind of exercise will help me destress (and paradoxically, it's those crazy-busy days when it's easy to skip the exercise). I like swimming (in summer) or yoga - both breath based workouts that help calm and centre me.

Karen Cioffi said...

Dallas, This is great advice. I'm actually looking into getting a stationary bike. Exercise has so many benefits, including helping to clear the mind-clutter away.

Shirley Corder said...

Dallas, thank you for this. I am blessed to live within a 5 minute walk from the beach. My husband and I have made it a habit to walk for about an hour every early evening, usually along the seafront. It makes for a relaxing and healthy end to a busy day.

Kathleen Moulton said...

Hi Dallas, simple advice for our simple working brains! We put so many demands on ourselves and worry needlessly about producing.

I think we have to purposely schedule restful activities as well (esp. when we get older ; )


Mary Jo Guglielmo said...

Dallas. Thanks for this reminder. I find walking in nature rejuvenating and inspiring.

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