Many years ago (sometime in the late 1970s or early 1980s) I read the following quote, from a source that I no longer remember. (It may have been the Reader’s Digest, which publishes a lot of quotations.)
“If you are in need of inspiration, go for a walk. Angels whisper to a man when he is walking.”
I have always found this to be true.
I’m not referring to actual angels, necessarily. I’m referring to good ideas—inspiration.
I’ve always found a walk to be the best way to clear my head, or to work out the next element of a story idea.
Other forms of exercise also help with creativity. An hour at the gym, or thirty minutes on an exercise bike, will usually yield some good ideas. But there is nothing quite as effective as walking, in my experience.
It might be that walking both oxygenates the brain, as well as requires you to shift your focus. (I often read when I’m on an exercise bike, whereas I am forced into introspection during a walk.)
Charles Dickens walked as many as twenty miles a day. It was during these walks that he plotted most of his novels—in his head, rather than on paper.
Anyway, the next time you’re stumped on a problem, you might try going for a walk. The simple thirty- to sixty-minute walk has rarely failed me.