Running Away From Writer’s Block

by Amy on March 12, 2012

Having to produce a column every week and come up with something interesting to blog about can sometimes cause my brain to get stuck in a mental mud hole.

I may have a wisp of an idea that I can’t seem to stir up enough humor or personal experiences to elaborate on my topic. Other times I may have no idea what I’m going to write or blog about.

I often get asked if I ever run out of ideas to write a column about. It’s something I try to avoid but it does happen. When it does, I dig out my bag of tricks to help me get out of my rut. One of my tricks is to go on a run. I’ve read several articles on how physical activity and connecting with nature can stimulate the brain, relieve stress, and release tension. I enjoy nature and running and quality think time, and will go on a run close to home to stimulate ideas or elaborate on a topic.

Besides being a way to get my inspiration flowing, running also helps counteract all the chair and laptop time that goes along with writing. I am the type of person who requires a lot of time outdoors and I love taking in nature while on a run.  Being outdoors alone with my thoughts is therapeutic for me. Running is also how I celebrate getting a column done, getting through a rough week, and how I reward myself after completing a column that took a long time to get just right.

Sometimes I carry a tiny notebook and stubby pencil with me when I go on a run so I can jot down any fleeting thoughts or ideas that enter my head. (Since writing while running doesn’t work very well, I usually stop running to do this.)

I am fortunate in that I have many different routes close to my home that I can run on. Having different routes nearby is helpful in deciding to use this particular (and multi-beneficial, I might add) writer’s block trick as well as getting motivated to get some exercise because I can take off right from my porch. Oftentimes I will take a route that runs around our property. I have one route that goes along the fence and one that’s the dirt road down around our junk yard so our collarless dog can go with me. Some of the other routes I use that are close to home are the county road parallel to one side of our property or the stretch of highway that parallels the other side of our property. Once the snow has melted and the trail is not spongy anymore, I change up my route in the spring and summer and use a stretch of the Mickelson trail (formerly Edgemont-Deadwood train route) that’s located only a half mile from our house.

Running fits in perfectly with our theory of using things that serve multiple uses. A pair of running shoes provides exercise, alone time, brainstorming sessions, time to organize my thoughts and connect with nature, relieve stress and celebrate my little writing victories. Running away from my problems usually helps solve them.

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