Walking and spending time in nature are the key ingredients of my creativity. Although today there’s ample evidence that these practices enhance creativity, I began incorporating both into my process several years ago. I noticed that, whenever I was struggling to find the right words, they’d only offer themselves up once I began walking—not during hours of staring at my computer screen.
My iPhone contains more than 4,500 Notes, including ideas, sentences, paragraphs and even full drafts of chapters, essays, articles, blog posts and white papers. Walking is a significant part of my editing process, too, with ideas for structure and storytelling arising as I move.
There’s a science-y rationale for this process, though I work this way because it yields brilliant results, and I enjoy it. The creative process is an interplay among the whole brain—left and right, conscious and subconscious. Walking and nature are the facilitators of this process.
I live in a beautiful coastal town, and if I’m going to engage in blue ocean strategy, or blue sky thinking, it helps to be looking at the ocean or sky. Rather than imagine a bird’s eye view, I watch how birds interact with their environment and find inspiration in that.
In addition to the creative benefits conferred by walking, there are others: I slow down and pay attention to details I might otherwise have missed; I see things differently than I would if I were moving faster. I focus more intensely. It takes practice and presence, and ultimately, it yields far greater results for my clients.
As someone whose job is essentially to be the creative extension of experts, I see it as my responsibility to remain in peak creative condition. After all, would you hire a personal trainer who spent all their time at McDonald’s?