Walking the lines

Whenever I have needed a jog along in my writing I have put down my pen and walked away. Walking is one of the most beneficial things a writer can do as apparently whilst you are walking the creative side is working away all the more. I have come up with so many ideas whilst walking, or it just becomes much clearer where a character needs to go next. I used to walk to and from the west end most days when I was studying my degree and would walk over Primrose Hill and through Regents Park. I even wrote a story in my head on one walk, inspired by Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway, who also makes a trip to this best London park. (Hyde Park has nothing on Regents!) That story, Ula Sees, is about a woman walking through the park and is all in interior monologue. It later appeared in Ambit magazine. But writers have a long history with walking. Charles Dickens was well known for his long treks through the less desirable parts of London, which were strong influences on his novels. Then there were the flaneurs of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, like Baudelaire. But it is a tradition that remains. Contemporary urban pounders include Will Self, always walking, and Iain Sinclair, both of which are keen on the notion of psychogeography. And Ackroyd - there is no way he would have been able to write either London, the biography or Thames from a car! Part of the pleasure of just walking away from the desk is also just that - being able to just get up and go for a trek, knowing that whilst you're out and about, your writer's brain is still working! If only one could do the same in the office bound job that actually pays the bills!

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