Need an endless idea generator? Try running.
On the Ship 30 for 30 writing course, the course leaders Dickie and Cole speak about the ‘endless idea generator’ — a set of frameworks to help those who want to write regularly develop ideas and get words down on the page. Not only does it help just list off some topics, but it means that you never start with a blank page.
I’d like to suggest another endless idea generator. It doesn’t come with a framework or any real method at all beyond getting out onto a path and running.
Running is back in fashion. I’m not sure it ever went fully out of fashion as a mode of exercise, but the pandemic strengthened the argument for exercising at home on a static bike with a massive screen and an overenthusiastic instructor congratulating you from their studio several thousand miles away.
There’s a lot to be said for exercising inside: the ease of it, the avoidance of bumping into someone you know etc. But getting outside, changing your environment and your visual cues is great for the mind, and by extension, for generating new ideas for writing or anything else in your life.
I’m not sure if it’s simply the repetitive motion of running that gets the cogs of my mind turning or just that I’m desperately searching for something to take the focus off of the pain and/or heavy breathing as I make my way around the park. Either way, my mind becomes a bit of a conveyor belt for ideas for things, solutions to problems, and people to speak to.
If I’ve hit a brick wall with work or writing in my own time, I can go for a run and get the ideas flowing again. Better still, plan in a run and then use Dickie and Cole’s Endless Idea Generator frameworks as soon as you’re back.
What do you think?
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