Exercise Your Brain

Walking for exercise these days. As a way to chronicle my walking, I posted a couple of lines on Facebook about what I saw one day. The second time I posted about what I saw, several friends also posted what they saw on their walks.

A writer friend who walks said she found the posts inspirational, and I must agree.

Walks can be important to writers because you can work on your observational skills.

As a writer, I am constantly looking at the world and picking out details to use in both fiction and nonfiction. For example, if you are writing a fictional scene and the character hears a dog barking, then you have the context to be able to accurately describe hearing a dog bark.

When you observe something — for example a tree — then you can also use that observation to prompt your memory. These prompts can be wonderful for “free writes.”

For example, yesterday I saw a bit of white fluff floating on the breeze. For a moment I thought it was a feather. The first thing I flashed on was that Houdini told his wife, Bess, that if he could come back after death, he would signal her by floating a white feather. Then I realized the white fluff was from the wonderful pink and white blossoms on the mimosa tree up ahead. The mimosa tree connects me with my childhood. There was a mimosa tree in our back yard.

Details are important building blocks for your stories, memoirs and novels.

Here are some other prompts I’ve developed from my walks:

  • Describe in detail the cat (or dog or other animal) you saw today.
  • There’s a blue tarp on the roof of a house and the broken trunk of a tree nearby. Write about the house itself or the tree. What kind of tree is it? What color is the house? Write about the storm that caused the damage.
  • Why is an old, rusty car with a flat tire parked on a street of homes with tidy yards and SUVs in the driveways?
  • Describe all the flowering plants that you see on your route.
  • Why is the guy waiting at the bus stop so impatient?


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One Response to Exercise Your Brain

  1. Lindsey says:

    I just wrote a post about your morning walk idea! I love it and did the same thing today. Mostly saw and noticed pretty flowers this time but I’m going to keep doing it. Great prompts in this posts. I saw an old car with a blanket in the back and thought about whether it was for a dog or if they sometimes slept in the car but didn’t thinking about it as a writing prompt ’til I just read this. Thanks so much!