My first steps towards any goal are physical steps. My ideas spring from the impact of running shoes on packed dirt. My brain is like wet cement, and my ideas are inlaid bricks. Running dries the cement and sets my ideas in place, so that they might form structures.
Whenever a big essay deadline approaches, I “run on it.” I set out with no music and no phone–just the simple intention of brainstorming an idea. Not that every run is a well-spring of inspiration. I rarely devise fully-formed plans and paragraphs as I run. I merely seek to create a blank headspace. In this vacuum, creative sparks might flash.
The first steps of my creative process are therefore simple. I require no post-it notes, graphic organizers, Excel sheets, nor Starbucks espressos. I need a good pair of running shoes (I swear by Hoka’s) and a trail.