Stuck for creative ideas? Stop working and start walking
Where do you think most creatively? Chances are it's not when you're staring at your computer wondering what to write. It's probably not even in your office. To think creatively, your subconscious needs time to chew things over. You need time when work slips to the back of your mind. That's why we’ve made going for a walk part of our copywriting process.
Walking and copywriting
Over on the section of this site where we explain how we help our clients, we talk about the copywriting process. Walking is an essential part of writing; the perfect way to let your subconscious get to work.
Walking takes you somewhere new. It clears your mind. It’s amazing how frequently an idea for a project pops into my head when I’m walking along. Often it’s the solution to something I’d been struggling with for ages. And by the time I get back to a computer, the draft has already formed in my head.
Solving problems with insight
Why does walking work so well? Recent research has found that daydreaming is more demanding than it seems, and could actually hold the key to those eureka moments. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Robert Lee Hotz says:
By most measures, we spend about a third of our time daydreaming, yet our brain is unusually active during these seemingly idle moments. Left to its own devices, our brain activates several areas associated with complex problem solving, which researchers had previously assumed were dormant during daydreams. Moreover, it appears to be the only time these areas work in unison.
Walking is the perfect way to daydream. A bit of exercise clears your mind but you're not too tired for your mind to wander or going too fast to take in the scenery. But walking only works if you give yourself permission to do it.
Make it your policy
Walking doesn't feel like work. But your clients will benefit because you'll have better, more creative ideas. So you've got to give yourself permission to do it. If you want to have great ideas, make it your policy to step away from your desk when you want your subconscious to kick in. If a five-minute stroll in the park at lunchtime leads to a moment of inspiration, it'll be worth it.
This summer, I've been been tackling stretches of the Cotswold Way. You could say that since making walking part of our copywriting process, we’ve never looked back. But with views like the one above, that wouldn’t be strictly true.