Monday, March 18, 2013

Plot Walking

Some people think I walk my big dog every day so we can exercise. And still others think I'm such a dedicated pet owner -- walking through snow, rain, heat and whatever else comes. But . . . I have a secret. whispers now and you strain to hear Most days I walk my beloved dog because it's when my writing ideas flow most freely.

So when we walk (even on days like this) . . .


. . . it's not because I'm some health champion. It's not just because my big dog needs to get out and move. It's not so I can eat four pounds of dark chocolate M&Ms.

It's because when I get back, I can write.

Because while I walk, I solve plot snags. I flesh out characters. I allow alternate story routes to roam my brain. I freeflow with new story ideas. I create. I even dream up book covers sometimes. Shhhhh. That's another secret. Jaye Robin Brown once called what I do "plot walking." I love that, so it's what I've officially dubbed what I do.

What about you? How and when and where do you plot walk? If you don't write, where or when do you do your best thinking?

27 comments:

  1. I plot walk when I'm driving or doing random things around my house. I listen to audio books when I walk. That's great you plot when you walk. And I love walking too, even when it's cold. Except the 20's or lower is a bit much for me.

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  2. I plot really well when I drive on the highway, so I totally get it. Your method is clearly healthier! ;)
    Book covers? Hadn't thought of that...hmm....

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  3. Long drives for sure. And now you're reminding of one of the things I miss about walking outside. I read books when I walk inside on the treadmill which is great, but walking outside is free mind roving time.

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  4. Whenever I get stuck I pace and mumble to myself. I pace the lawn, the porch, the hallway... back and forth, back and forth until...

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  5. Exactly! I'm in better shape since I started writing than I ever was before. There's something about those quiet moments on a long hike that floods my brain with ideas or dialog or the end I've been searching for! Lucky doggie to have a writer as a pet.

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  6. I love this post, Barbara. From now on, I'll call my jogging "plot jogging."

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  7. Nice post, Barbara. We just got a little dog after being without one for many years. Maybe he will inspire my writing.

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  8. I do the same thing on my runs or oddly in the shower. I find anytime I get stuck physical movement helps to work out the kinks in my plot. I've also read research backing up how movement triggers creative thought in the brain.

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  9. I used to get a lot of ideas while on my morning walk. Unfortunatly I've had to trade it for a treadmill (I can't fit the kids in the stroller anymore and it's not the same if I have to walk at their pace) and the treadmill doesn't provide ideas. Now I mostly think of them in the middle of the night when I can't sleep. Though if I had my choice, I'd rather sleep.

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  10. I plot jog! It's basically the same thing, but I don't have a dog. So yanno. It totally works, too. Something about relaxing the brain, problem-solving. And it does make room for the M&Ms! Bonus! :D <3

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  11. I am going to try this today. I'm taking the baby for a walk!!!

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  12. Walking inspires me too, Barbara. And I also get a lot of ideas when I first wake up in the morning, or in the shower. Something about the increased dopamine flow (I've done a bit of research on how the brain works, since the aneurysm rupture) which happens when we're relaxed and not being bombarded with information. The more dopamine, the more creative we are.

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  13. When I used to go to the gym, running or walking on the treadmill was my most plot thinking productive time. So I know exactly what you mean. Nowadays spending time in the shower sometimes solves my plot issues.

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  14. I'm the same with running, but I injured my ankle and my physio finally gave me permission to walk last week. Walk but not run yet. But walking is better than nothing at least. :D

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  15. What a great idea! My best plot snags work themselves out when I'm running or driving. Your walk looks beautiful. ;)

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  16. Some of my better ideas seem to float into my head while I'm running, so I know what you mean. I don't really care for winter, but your pic captured the beauty there is to be found in that season.

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  17. I used to plot run . . . now I walk with my dog and chatty 9yo daughter, who gets mad when I think instead of listening to her, lol.

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  18. Exercise always helps me get ideas following too. I also seem to get some great ideas in the shower! :)

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  19. I'm a fan of plot showering. Something about the hot water makes my brain leak!

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  20. Hi, Barbara, I came to your site from Rosi Hollinbeck's blog. I write MG fiction, too, so your blog looks quite interesting. Re: walking: I get a lot of ideas and solutions when I'm walking, too, either alone or with my dog.

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  21. Oh yes! I do plot dog walking, plot showering, plot crafting, and plot pool cleaning. Amazing what gets accomplished when we take time to think it out.

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  22. So true! I got 2 good ideas this morning while driving kids to school (this is when I need a voice recorder).

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  23. I love working out plot and writing things while I'm walking. Sometimes when I'm stuck I just go on a walk and then come back feeling unstuck.

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  24. For me it's driving. Though I wish it was walking...it's healthier!

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  25. That's EXACTLY why I walk too. (also I have a five kids and sometimes I just need the space for peace and quiet!) (even if the weather is not nice - a blizzard is pretty much the only thing that keeps me in).

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  26. I'm not surprised at all that walking helps you with your writing. Pretty much doing anything other than writing never fails to stir up the plottery brain cells!

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  27. Walking, driving, washing up, having a shower - I get my best writing ideas when I'm doing anything repetitive and / or not too mentally demanding. Apparently repetitive tasks stimulate the creative part of your brain somehow...

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