Sunday, February 5, 2012

Walking and writing

Recently, it was my daughter's 21st birthday. To celebrate we headed down the coast with a small group of her friends to a cedar cabin in the wilderness. There was much eating, drinking, surfing, swimming, laughing, swinging in hammocks, sitting around camp fires - it was a great weekend. A wonderful celebration.

Over the summer, I had been working diligently (and wrestling often) on my second draft of my WIP, and with about a dozen people to cater for and entertain over this particular weekend, I welcomed the chance to leave it at home and party for a while.

But I don't seem ever to be able to do that! Not completely anyway. I may have left the manuscript at home, but the story is always in my mind and no matter how hard I tried to push it out of my thoughts, it always pushed its way back in. (I don't think it helped that the property we were staying on was very similar to the setting of my novel.)

Every morning and every afternoon I headed off up this road for a bit of a walk. And this is where I rediscovered the power of the walk. And even more so, the power of letting your mind wander aimlessly.

Each time I walked up the road and back, I returned with some new insight. Some tiny detail to add to the fabric of the prose. An interesting sentence. A snippet of dialogue. A plot flaw revealed. The place where I could add some emotional depth or further characterisation. Magic.

The manuscript is now "complete". And today I am going to send it to my publisher. Deep breath. Fingers crossed. Wish me luck.


  1. The magic of letting your mind wander. Now I can tell my wife it's not a bad thing after all. I hope the publisher likes the book. My to-read pile is dwindling.


  2. 21? How did that happen? Happy brithday to her!

    Like you I find walking a wonderful mind-opener. I have had story ideas, plot fixes, twists - all kinds of things come to me on my morning and evening walks. I also find driving can be the same sometimes. I drove to Perth on Friday and out of the blue came up with a wonderful way of handling a story idea I've had on hold for years and years. Love it!

  3. Thanks Jeff - I do too! I have been working on it for a very long time. You can tell your wife that sleeping on the sofa, daydreaming and staring into space are also quite legit. IMHO, anyway. And as Donna Rawlins often says, so too is lying indolently on a chaise lounge!