How many times have you found yourself wrestling with some problem with your novel? Perhaps your characters just aren’t turning out the way you wanted them to, or you’ve written yourself into a corner and can’t figure out how to escape. It’s a problem I’m pretty sure all writers are familiar with.

What do you do to solve the problem? I usually stop what I’m doing, close my computer, and head outside to take a walk around the block. By the time I get back, I’ve figured out what I need to do. Or, at least I’ve come up with the beginning of the solution.

According to a 2014 study from the American Psychological Association, walking can actually help to stimulate creative thinking and problem-solving! Of the students given creative thinking tasks to solve, 100% of the participants in one experiment increased their creativity while walking. In three other experiments, anywhere from 81 to 95% of participants grew more creative while walking compared to sitting.

Interestingly enough, the walk itself is what sparks the creativity, not the location. The participants who walked indoors had the same amount of creativity as those who walked outdoors. Odd, huh?

This study provides proof to back up what I (and doubtless many others) already knew: walking helps to enhance creative thinking.

Some of the world’s most famous thinkers spent time walking as a means to enhance their creativity, including Shakespeare, Aristotle, Thoreau, Dickens, Kierkegaard, and Beethoven. All of these great minds discovered the creativity-enhancing benefits of walking long before the APA conducted a study to prove it.

If you’re stuck on something in your writing (or in any aspect of life or work), get up, take a walk, and let your mind wander. You’re far more likely to come up with creative solutions to your problem!


What’s your problem-solving secret? Drop a comment below and share the wisdom…