Need inspiration? Take a walk…

Hidey-Ho there Scriblers.  J Monkeys here – Happy Saturday to you and yours.  So, it’s Thursday afternoon as I sit before the keyboard and bare my soul to you.  Okay, well, maybe not my actual soul, but certainly my thoughts.  It’s a beautiful day today, warm and windy, the first of the spring.  In an effort to get things rolling on one of my many goals for this year, I just came in from a walk around the neighborhood.

There I was, huffing and puffing my way up a steep hill, listening to Fins by Jimmy Buffett (guaranteed to put you in a summer-y mood) when out of the corner of my eye, I saw a brown spotty bird standing on the ground scanning his surroundings with a kind of creepy determination to know who’s around. 

A few steps closer, I realized that the bird was pretty big.  Not 7’2” like my favorite canary, but puffy enough that I didn’t like the way he was eyeballin’ me.  And he seemed to be standing on gray rocks, like river rocks.  Just as I thought to wonder how non-webbed bird-feet were maintaining their grip on smooth rocks, I realized that the rocks were in fact a squirrel.  And the bird was a hawk or falcon or some kind of wicked scary raptor. I broke eye contact and walked a little faster.

He flew off with his dinner tucked in those claws and I thought to myself, “Wow, did I just see a falcon take down an animal?  Right here on the Massachusetts/Connecticut border?”  How come we had a falcon around here, anyway?  I thought they liked the craggy towers of city life nowadays.  No crags around here.  Hmmm.  That thought combined with the “Fins to the left, fins to the right, and I’m the only bait in town!” pounding in my ears started the pistons movin’.  

Next thing you know, I’ve got a whole little thing going on in my head.  Why did that falcon grab that squirrel?  Did someone send that falcon after the squirrel?  Who?  Where are they?  Are they watching me on some WWW-esque giant crystal ball?  Was that falcon a warning to me?   Is a raptory version of Big Bird heading for me next?  Who would be after me and why? 

Now, before you call the people in the white coats, the me in these situations is never really ME.  This is where I create a character to take over the role of me and then I move her around like a piece on a chess board.  But the point is, this short walk had me off an rolling on a new idea.

Today’s Secret: Do you need inspiration?  Maybe you are trying too hard.  Go for a walk, or do something else solitary and fun.  You never know what might spark an idea.

Today’s Question: What do you do when you’ve stalled?  Or worse, when you have too many good ideas and no time to work on them because you are trying to finish the works already in progress?


14 thoughts on “Need inspiration? Take a walk…”

  1. Hey, J! You may have seen a peregrine falcon. I’ve had several close encounters with these creatures, and I sympathize with you. They are big (about the size of a small turkey), and wicked scary! I used to work downtown in a city that is known to have them, and I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen the bird(s) circling around overhead, or the raptor-math of bloody body parts of smaller birds and mammals strewn about the streets. I once encountered one brazenly shredding a squirrel, and once one even landed on my the sill outside my office window and was staring in at me, hungry! But mixed with my healthy fear of the magnificent brute was a sense of awe. They are quite, quite spectacular. As for taking a walk, yup! No better way to get the ideas flowing. I don’t think I’ll get one in today, but maybe tomorrow …

    1. Maybe…it looked a little small for a peregrine – we had one that nested on the Travelers Tower when I worked there. There’s even a webcam to show her off. One time, she (Amelia – the falcon) sat on the sill outside our bathroom window for quite a long time staring at herself in the mirror. Yes, we did crowd 25 people into a tiny 2-staller to check her out.

  2. And as for your question about what to do with those ideas that bombard you when you’re supposed to be working on something else, this is where Evernote comes in. I have an EN notebook for random stuff that might be useful someday. Note of caution: make your notes as detailed as possible (not just a cryptic “raptor with squirrel”), as soon as you get them. Chances are you will forget your brilliant idea(s) and will not be able to make sense of your secret code! Or maybe that’s just me 🙂

    1. Jane! I’m an Evernote newbie…been using it since you blogged about it a while back, but I didn’t think about keeping all of my story ideas there! What a brilliant use of the tool! I’m SO creating a new notebook for that!

  3. Taking a walk is my favorite daily “chore”. I’m ecstatic that it’s finally warming up. I use the time to let my mind wander and often times, plot problems get resolved or I come up with new scenes. When I get bombarded with other ideas, I write them down in my idea notebook. If the idea is meant to be a book, then it keeps coming back to me and it gets added to my “to be written list.” Then I go back to my WIP. I have a rule about not having unfinished books (curse you, Galen, you will be completed) so I don’t start any book unless I know I’ll finish it.

  4. Wow. How amazing is this! I see Red-tail hawks a lot here in Pennsylvania.. they are beautiful. I have never seen one with actual prey shoved in it’s greedy talons. I agree with Susannah on the EN.. I use it to jot stuff down all day long. I have one on my laptop and one on my desktop in work.
    You won’t be sorry…. and yeah, walks rule. 🙂

  5. After the squirrel chewed and six inch hole in the fascia board near the peak of our house, went into the attic, chewed up everything in the attic to make a nest and had her babies there, I was so happy to see the red-tailed hawk minimize the squirrel population here in Fairfield. BUT, they didn’t get her, she kept coming back and tried to chew up the plastic wood and metal repair. She finally gave up and made a new nest under the deck. When we tore off the deck she hung out on the builder’s ladder with her nuts. We finally had to call in the army and we trapped her and her mate and took them to squirrel heaven, far, far away. They have not returned. That was not an inspiration. The beautiful lake here is an inspiration, not for writing, rather for painting. So what inspires me to write? The passion to tell the story.

  6. I definitely find inspiration in nature. My productivity is directly related to getting enough exercise and being outdoors often. My dog Zak is a great motivator. Great post Jen.

  7. Hi J, When I need inspiration, I go for a walk. I live behind a state park and we often see hawks and eagles. We also have wild turkey, deer, coyote, and someone said they saw a small bear. I have never seen the bear though. Right now, I need more walks for many reasons … weight loss, heart health, and inspiration. Thanks for the post.

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