Sunday, 13 January 2019

On Kale, Walnut Whips, Walking and Writing by Sheena Wilkinson

I keep a diary and, when I’m at home rather than travelling or doing events, each day reads pretty much the same – writing, walking, reading, playing guitar, sometimes a bit of crochet and TV. Something sensational to read on the train it isn’t. I include my rough word count and recently I’ve been logging my steps too, which gives my diary a sort of Bridget Jones ring. Without the cigarettes and the unsuitable men. 

My usual walk towards the end of the day -- beautiful but a bit DARK
One of my habits is porridge for breakfast, winter and summer, home or away. I’m by no means as healthy an eater as I ought to be, but I reckon that shovelling some oats in first thing means that at least I start the day well, whatever temptations I might succumb to later (eight biscuits and a walnut whip the other day.)

It’s the same principle that’s always sent me to my desk in the mornings, so that I can get writing straight away. This means I have a decent word count done by lunchtime so that even if work then has to stop (often for nice reasons like meeting someone), at least I’ve started the day well. I know lots of writers friends who begin their day with a walk, but I’ve always liked to keep my walk for after-writing, when I enjoy it more, knowing that work is done for the day. But for the last couple of weeks I’ve had a quick morning walk before work as well. I’m not prepared to get up earlier or to read faster at the breakfast table, so this means hitting my desk about half an hour later every day – the very reason I’d always been reluctant to walk in the mornings. 

The walks themselves are not spectacular; they are simply on the roads around my house and never more than half an hour. But I always see something of interest – today, a field of kale (or something; I’m not an expert as the walnut whip detail above might suggest); an inquisitive horse; a derelict cottage completely choked by foliage. And there's more light than I often manage by the time I get out for my afternoon walk at this time of year. 

Less dramatic morning walk 
I’m not getting less writing done. When I break for lunch I’ve achived as much as I used to do when I started earlier. But I’m working faster, partly because my brain is more fired up, and partly because the walk itself, by literally taking me somewhere else (though not very far from my house) helps me not to get distracted by emails and admin – I’m definitely more focussed and more prepared to let them wait till the afternoon. 

And I’m still having my ‘proper’ walk in the last afternoon. I don’t know how long this new routine will last. The weather has been kind lately and I have very little on in January taking me away from home, but for the moment it’s become a great way to start the day. And gives me something else to log in that very exciting diary. 

Dusky forest -- another typical afternoon walk 


Penny Dolan said...

Admiration for both lots of walking, Sheena, and all the wonderful landscapes in your photos. The striding must clearly pay off in terms of writing and fitness.

To be honest, I may need to be more dedicated in my approach or direction of travel.
Living right in the middle of a small town, walks along "my" pavements usually brings thoughts about needed items written on the shopping list left at home.
Clearly, I must try harder. Or walk elsewhere. :-)

Unknown said...

lovely pictures and loving the weather of late also . light creates motivation for me ... and heat :) happy out !

Anne Booth said...

Absolutely beautiful pictures. I am aiming to try and get in a nice long morning dog walk every day as well as an evening one, as I know when I do that my dogs and I are happier, and as you say I get more work done in the end. It will also mean I can justify buying a walnut whip - I haven't had one for ages, and your post, as well as making me want to live where you are living, also makes me want a walnut whip too!