The Same-Old, Same-Old? Yes, Thanks
by Jody Feldman
Every weekday morning, weather permitting, I take the same sidewalks and paths for a two- to three-mile walk/run. Let me repeat, not about my pace, not about the distance, but about it being the SAME. It’s so easy to take for granted the same trees and houses, electric lines and cracks in the pavement. It’s so easy to pass everything without seeing. It’s so easy to get this part of my day over with so I can get to work. That’s why I make it a habit to start the first few blocks of my time focusing on the changing foliage, the drifting clouds (or lack thereof), the chattering birds, the humming insects. If I don’t, I’ll get stuck inside my head for the entire 30-40 minutes.
Now, inside my head is exactly where I want to be in those moments. It’s my time to brainstorm and ponder about whatever I’m currently writing. Before I step foot outside or even before I get out of bed, I make a mental list of the writing challenges – as in plot or character, backstory or dialogue, stakes or theme or all the other issues – I need to address that day. But instead of tackling that list with the first step out my front door, I use several minutes to breathe and notice.
I’ve found there’s magic in that. When I ground myself in my surroundings then let creative thoughts emerge organically, they come stronger, with more creativity and clarity, when they're ready.
I’ve tried taking alternate routes. I’ve considered walking with friends who've asked, but the distraction of different sights and sounds and smells impedes my process. And so, I do essentially the same thing every day.
Yes, I love newness, novelty, exploring the unknown. Yet, every day, I am grateful for the unique role that sameness plays in allowing me to spend uninterrupted, uninhibited morning moments with my head in the sky.