Not long ago I took a tour of Tor House in Carmel, California, the stone dwelling of the great poet Robinson Jeffers. During part of the tour the guide described how his wife Una would hear him pacing in his office upstairs while he wrote.
His pacing was not a way to avoid writing, it was what his body wanted to do during his creative process. It’s true he got up from his desk and moved away from pen and paper, but his mind was engaged and the walking helped him concentrate as he composed his verse.
There are probably good circulatory or neurological explanations about how physical movement can aid the writing process. The brain isput to the test during a session of writing, and it needs blood and nutrients to perform the task. Exercise is good for the brain, and many writers incorporate movement into their writing lives.
It is probably also true for some writers it would be a mistake to get up out of their chair and start roaming around during their writing time. These authors might find suddenly find themselves in the ice cream aisle at Safeway before remembering they were supposed to be working on their novel.
I often develop ideas while hiking alone. It might mean missing out on some of the scenery, but I’ll pay that price if something new, funny or useful pops into consciousness. I have also, on occasion, left my desk to take a short hike to the television. These expeditions are typically less fruitful for my literary endeavors.
When Una died, Jeffers had a protracted wet spell with the bottle and had a long dry spell with his writing. Eventually, he walked back into his work and produced more poetry.
I want to walk the talk, pace with grace, write with delight, and keep returning to the keyboard.