Well, maybe that title’s a little premature. How about ‘Walking into Ideas’?
As a way to combat the stress that has been pounding at us lately, my editing partner, Marley, suggested that we both needed to keep ourselves in shape. We agreed that in addition to reporting word counts each day, we would also spend time on our treadmills and report those counts too.
Now I used to walk regularly, heck, I used to exercise like a fiend when I was in my 20’s – 200 push ups and an equal number of sit ups per day wouldn’t even make me break out into a sweat. In my 30’s (after a really bad knee injury), Gizmo Guy and I started walking 5 – 6 kilometres a day. (That’s how we found our current house – we literally walked by it every day and said “This would be a nice neighbourhood to live in.”) But for the past 5 years … diddly squat. Nada. Nothing. Anyone can see that from the extra pounds I’ve packed on over the years.
Plus there’s nothing more motivating than watching a family member in hospital, possibly never to return home, and thinking “there but for the grace of God go I in 25 years. Or less.” It’s scared me to think that I might end up with Dad’s fate.
So I convinced Gizmo Guy and the boys to drag the treadmill up from the basement where it’s been gathering dust and install it in the living room. And for the past week I’ve gradually upped the amount of time and distance I’ve walked on it every day.
Two things I noticed – 1) for the first 20 minutes of the first couple days, the emotions just flooded out of me and I’d find tears running down my cheeks as I walked. Talk about cathartic! 2) after about 20 minutes the endorphins must be released and I start levelling out. All of a sudden my creative side kicks in and story ideas and solutions that had stumped me start flowing. Ideas like how to torture Mark some more while he’s still chained to the wall in my Jewel story. Or what Laurel needs to do or say to make Kael fall in love with her in the story I started for NaNo and had to briefly abandon. She is human after all. And he ain’t. I started having to keep my voice recorder handy so I could keep track of all the ideas.
Oh, and I guess there’s a third thing I discovered, thanks to Marley suggesting it. It’s MUCH easier to pass the time on a treadmill if you have music playing. And not something slow and easy, something that gets you wanting to move a bit faster. Lately I’ve been playing soundtracks. While I’m struggling to walk on a reasonably flat surface, I am listening to Promontory from Last of the Mohicans, picturing Uncas dashing up the side of a mountain to save his love, Alice. Or I’m walking along the streets of Notting Hill listening to Bill Wither’s Ain’t No Sunshine.
Hopefully soon, I’ll be able to use the faster music. Then maybe the ideas will come faster then too. And my cholesterol will go down. And my life expectancy up. Positives all around.