Why Writers Walk

I work in an academic library at a private Christian university. Each week in the Library, sessions for faculty take place in our center for teaching and learning. Basically this means that faculty offer presentations to other faculty as a way to encourage professional development or personal growth – they are free, and usually a lunch is also provided. (Win-win!)

Not all of the sessions generally apply to me, as I am not traditional teaching faculty, (I am Library faculty), but I go to the ones that seem interesting or pertinent to my job. Last week I had the opportunity to attend a session on creative writing – specifically on how the act of walking positively impacts our writing.

One of our Lang/Lit professors led the session, and she did an amazing job. By the end of it, I was convinced (or maybe reconvinced) that I needed to start walking daily to benefit my writing.

The connection between walking and writing is nothing new – many renowned authors were walkers. In the book Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less, there is a whole chapter discussing the reasons why many creative and successful people (Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ludwig van Beethoven, C.S. Lewis, and Charles Dickens to name a few) incorporated long walks into their routines.

I strongly believe in the connection between walking and creativity – my issue is more just a matter of prioritizing it and doing it.

The day the session was scheduled, it was pouring rain outside, and Abilene also was under a tornado watch. (We don’t typically get tornados, so I didn’t worry too much.) I figured the “Walk and Write” session scheduled for 11:30 would be cancelled. But the rain had stopped by then, and it left everything fresh and clean – really just perfect for walking.

One of the walking/writing exercises I did was called a “photo walk.” During a 10-minute walk, you take a picture of something that strikes your fancy, and then later you write a descriptive paragraph about the photo. You can be as imaginative as you want in describing the picture. If any emotions were stirred within you, you can lean into those while you write. The idea is just to get you inspired.

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30 (more like 20) Pushups a Day (more like every few days) for a Month

My current foot situation (in a boot, not full weight-bearing) has obviously prevented me from running or working out very much at all. I finally decided that I should challenge myself to do something despite my limitations, and focusing on my arms seemed like the best idea. It also was pretty timely, as social distancing became the thing to do… it gave me a challenge I could easily do at home. I decided I wanted to do 30 pushups every day, probably in sets of 10, and see how I felt/looked in one month. Here’s a quick day-by-day accounting of what that process looked like:

Feb 29 – Thought I would do 30 every day, after doing a set of ten, 20 seemed good enough.

Mar 1 – Why am I sore? Oh yeah… I think I should take today off.

Mar 2 – Two sets of 10 in the books!

Mar 3 – Two sets done before work… I was late to work.

Mar 4 – Pushups seemed easier today.

Mar 5 – First set I was able to do 12 – second set of 10 was hard but doable.

Mar 6 – Today was my first day on crutches, I think my arms got enough of a workout.

Mar 7 – Nope.

Mar 8 – Daylight Savings Time, we sprang forward… no pushups but I did get a nap.

Mar 9 – Did a set of 12, then a second set of 8 at lunch break.

Mar 10 – Didn’t happen.

Mar 11 – Two sets of 10, check!

Mar 12-16 – I took an unintended break, stuff has been getting crazy due to the coronavirus! 

Mar 17 – First set of 16 (yeah!) and then a second set of 10. Amazing since I have missed so many days!

Mar 18 – Not today.

Mar 19 – Two sets of 10. 

Mar 20 – Two sets of 10 again.

Mar 21 – 12 pushups and then 10 more. A few sit ups too.

Mar 22 – Rested.

Mar 23 – 20 in a row! (woot woot!) 

Mar 24 – Two sets of 10, plus a little free weight work.

Mar 25 – Took a break, it was Dean’s birthday.

Mar 26 – No pushups, but I did go out for a “ride” on my knee scooter. 

Mar 27 – Two sets of 10. 

Mar 28 – No.

Mar 29 – I thought about it, but was tired.

So… I only did pushups 14 out of the 30 days, which is less than half – so if I was going for a letter grade, I guess I’d get an ‘F.’ But I choose to not look at this as a failure, but as doing pushups 14 more days than I normally would have. And I can always challenge myself again this month to try again, although honestly I think everyday is a bit too much… doesn’t give much time for recovery.

Lastly, if you need some motivating up-beat workout music, check out some of the opening and ending themes from the show Haikyuu – just about every time I did pushups I listened to music from this anime – specifically “I’m a Believer” from Season 2. The kids in the show are so motivated to train (they are on a volleyball team) and I find that their motivation is a bit contagious.

I'm a Believer - Haikyuu!! Second Season OP | Piano Cover ...

Thanks for reading!

Focus on What You CAN Do

Back in April, I wrote a post about how I had been consistently running for an entire year.

Today, I’m sharing a post explaining why I may not be running anymore at all.

First, a little history. If you read my blog, you know that my husband and I recently got to go to Japan for 11 days to celebrate our 10th anniversary. We left May 11 and returned May 21. Among the many other things we did there, we also did a ton of walking! I don’t remember a specific instance of injuring my foot, but about halfway through our trip my left foot was hurting pretty badly. So much so, that I opted out of doing some of the things we had originally planned to do on our trip.

I hadn’t been running or exercising on our trip, so after we got back I decided I’d wait a few days and then try going for a run. My foot still hurt, but I pushed through the pain (being stubborn comes in handy sometimes.) I ran two more times that week, and then decided that the pain was getting worse. I told myself I’d take a week off of running to let my foot heal. I wasn’t too happy about this, but I had done this before in the past for injuries, and figured this was just another one of those times. No big deal, I’d just wait a week or so and then get back into it.

I actually ended up waiting a week and a half before I got back out to go running one morning. I had not been having any pain for 4 or 5 days, so I was optimistic as I headed out on my 2.7 mile route. I think about halfway through my run was when I could tell that left foot was beginning to hurt again. By the time I made it home, the pain was bad. And this time, my ankle was swollen too.

Some people might have chosen that day to make an appointment to go to the doctor, but not me (remember, stubborn!) I thought I’d rest it, ice it, etc. and see if it got better. After an entire week of having a swollen ankle, I made the appointment.

“If I had your feet, I think I’d cry every day I had to walk on them.” 

Not exactly what you want to hear from your doctor, or anyone for that matter. He told me that I had most likely sprained a muscle or ligament and wanted me to wear a boot for a few weeks. He told me that I should never wear flip-flops or cute shoes again – I needed to go for the “ugly old lady shoes.” He also told me, that because of the way my feet are designed, my left foot bends too far to one side, which means I overcompensate and put all my weight on one spot on the other side of my foot – which is what caused my injury. He told me I was not built (literally, my feet were not designed) to be a runner, and that I should look for a new sport.

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