March 18, 2015 by Ray Yanek
Thing #2: If you’re old school, carry a notebook and a pen on your runs.
A lot of those compression shorts have pockets in the front where I think a crotch cup is supposed to go and a notepad fits there perfectly– or uh, you know…so I’ve been told. Notepad gets a little, uh, bent and I wouldn’t suggest using the spiral pads for obvious reasons. Neither would I recommend storing your pen there…
Or if you’re more of the modern, cutting edge type–have a good notepad app on your cellphone because you will be flooded with thoughts and ideas.
Just the other day I read an article where in the writer said financial wizard Warren Buffett spends almost 80% of his working hours reading and thinking.
I don’t need to emphasize the importance of thinking, not just for writers, but for people in general–and I’m talking about that clear thinking when our minds aren’t cluttered with all the things we have to do, or all the things that happened, or all the things that could happen. I’m talking about that free thinking where the mind can roam, where inspiration is free to come from the divine and the subconscious can reveal all the things it’s been percolating in its depth.
But unfortunately in our world, we have to carve out time for that thinking to occur. We have to find ways to clear those clouds and pack that stress away in the closet for a bit.
Running did that for me.
When I first started running, I needed ear buds and loud music to take my focus off the strains of running. My focus would go on the music rather than on the screaming shin splints and my own cries to a benevolent God for mercy. After awhile though, I still kept the ear buds in, but only to dull the ambient noise.
Maybe it was the endorphins or the stress relieving properties of exercise, I don’t know.
But I could think.
I was clear.
Ideas and thoughts flooded. I was working out plot points, seeing character arcs, unmuddling the middles, and busting through blocks. I almost weaved into traffic a couple of times as I was trying to run while thumb typing those thoughts into my phone. Other times, I was extending the cool down walks so I could record the ideas because I knew they would flitter away as soon as the real world slipped back in.
I loved that and unfortunately, I haven’t found anything else that gives me the same effect. The Crossfit workouts are too intense and my only thoughts are on personal survival; walking isn’t intense enough; a glass of wine doesn’t work; and I can’t meditate worth a shit.
But I need that time. Desperately. We all do. Especially if we want to create.
There has to be something else out there that lift that veil of stress. Until I find it though, I guess my feet are going to have man-up and keep me running for just a little longer.
So what do you do? How do you find that peace in which you can think? Help me out here, huh? My knees will thank you.