Yesterday, I didn’t post anything in my category “Daily Musings.” And that’s ok. As writers, we don’t always get things on paper, or we may be working on multiple projects and simply not make it to the blog. Of course, there are times when the well just goes dry. No words. What do we do then? It’s pointless to get frustrated, so you might as well free up your mind by doing something else.
In the book, “Brain Rules,” by John Medina, he talks about how our evolutionary past affects our thinking and creativity today. The first of his twelve rules is to exercise, and he outlines the “performance envelope” where “our brains are designed to solve problems, related to surviving, in an unstable outdoor environment, and to do so in nearly constant motion.” Yes, motion.
From an evolutionary view, our brains developed while we were on the move – walking as many as twelve miles each day. Constant motion was necessary to forage for food, water, and to scurry away from predators. While these skills may have deteriorated in an age where some only get their exercise by walking to the vending machine, no longer fearing that saber-tooth tigers might surprise them on the well-worn carpet path to the office break room, multiple studies have borne out that exercise increases our cognitive abilities. And it doesn’t matter what type of exercise as long as gets the blood flowing. More circulating oxygen to the brain transforms to increases in substances promoting and enhancing brain activity and even stimulating the grown of new brain cells. This is why sitting in a class room or an office has the opposite effect of making our brains grow tired and numb. Moving increases brain power. Moving stimulates creativity.
Now you don’t have to walk twelve miles every day, but motion is good. Any motion. I’ve found its best to carry something to jot down those ideas while I’m on the trail, or use the voice recorder on the cell phone. Because once I start moving, and take my mind off writing, words just magically appear.
Yesterday it was 4 miles out in the woods. I wrote a lot in my mind that will hopefully be on paper soon. Today, my chosen activity was cleaning house. And as I did, numerous ideas for numerous stories kept popping up in my mind. So many ideas and words that my house cleaning was disrupted by many returns to the keyboard. Or maybe I just didn’t want to clean. I don’t know. But, if you want to forage for words, move your body . . .