Posted in response to Writing 101 Day : One word inspiration.
A few years back, when I was young and athletic and fit, I would go out for a run to find inspiration for writing. I used running as a way to move through moments (and sometimes hours) of writer’s block. I found running to be a particularly effective way to generate new stories and to deal with ideas that wouldn’t flow.
Yesterday, I happened upon an article on running and what runners think about while they are running. It was based on a study in which ten long distance runners were wired with microphones during their runs, and they were asked to narrate their thought processes.
Ha! I thought. Wouldn’t that have been a fun study to be part of? Then I reconsidered when I realized that had I been chosen as a subject, I probably would have been sent to the loony bin before the study was over. As a creative person, my mind can string some strange thoughts together, like beads on a necklace that will attract some inquisitive remarks, but will never be the sort of thing that’s in style.
In some instances, there is no doubt that my thought process was similar to that of the subjects—Come on! You can do it! Keep going—just a little farther…. But in other ways, I would have to say my ‘train of running thoughts’ strayed far from the beaten path.
While my feet were pounding out the rhythm of my run, my head was spinning tales from the things I saw by the side of the road, the events of my day, thoughts halted before spoken, and the struggles my head was working through. My running mind tended to weave these things together in ways that might be considered unconventional.
One day when I was running, I noticed a discarded ATM receipt along the side of the road. At first, I didn’t think anything of it, other than the fact that people really should properly discard their trash. Not far away, I passed a discarded Styrofoam coffee cup. Probably the same person, I thought. Took some money out of the bank and bought a cup of coffee on the way home. I kept running.
Down the road a bit was the most unusual piece of the puzzle; a pair of men’s black dress pants was strewn along the roadway. And now it seemed that the person had not only withdrawn some money from the bank, he had withdrawn all of his money from the bank. He bought a cup of coffee, and while he pondered his situation, he decided to quit his job and create a new life, one that was less restrictive and didn’t have the office trappings. No more business attire for him!
Oh my! I can just imagine what those researchers would have thought had they been listening to me narrate these thoughts while I was running. But a great story was hatching. And running was always a means to access abundant inspiration.
May you always have an abundance of inspiration to fuel your journey.