Running Gets The Creative Juices Flowing, Too

run sweatI’m something of a sweat monster, Modern Philosophers.

There.  I’ve said it.  It’s out in the open.  I can stop hiding it from you.

I think one of the reasons I prefer running outside to doing it at the gym, is because I am so self-conscious at the amount of sweat I generate.

I could fill entire reservoirs with the sweat that my body produces on a 5 mile run.  I’ve often felt the urge to hire a lifeguard to stand nearby just in case someone else at the gym began to drown in all my perspiration.

When I run on the open road, I don’t have to worry about the people on either side of me on the treadmills that are far too close for my liking (and theirs once they catch a whiff of me).  Plus, the fresh air does something to help with the malodorous scents defiling my running togas.  At least I tell myself it does.

Today was my second straight morning run.  I did 3 miles, and even though my legs were sore from yesterday’s adventure, I had far too much going on in my head to even notice.

You see, today’s run really got the creative juices flowing.  It has been so long since I’ve started a new screenplay, that I’d forgotten how much mental writing I get do when I’m on a run.  The second my giant Monkey Boy running show hit the road, I shifted straight into Writer Mode.

The next scene in my screenplay popped into my head, and it played for me as if it were on the big screen.  I’ve always been told that I’d be a great director because my screenplays are so descriptive and rich in screen direction.

I think that happens because I actually picture the scenes happening.  In my mind, I recite all the dialogue.  I can hear the inflections the characters would use, the pauses they’d take, and the see looks they’d give each other.  I can also visualize every little thing that happens in the scene.

groceryOn today’s run, the scene I was mentally writing took place in a grocery store.  In my head, I had the image of the store from the extras in the scene, to what was on the shelves, to how the characters would move as they talked.  Everything just played out in my mind as if my eyes were the camera.  When I finally sat down with the laptop later, all those details made it onto the page.

I also got an email this morning from Danny Cashman, asking if I could attend a meeting to discuss ideas for The Nite Show.  So after I plotted out the screenplay scene, my mind shifted gears to come up with taped segments for the TV show.  Once again, I could picture the bits in my head, this time setting it all up from a television perspective.

Before I even realized it, I was back at The House on the Hill.  I was covered in sweat as usual, but this time, the foul stench was offset by the delightful scent of all the creative juices that had flowed over the last 3 miles.

just runAll in all, it was an excellent run.

If I’m going to keep writing so much, I probably need to run a lot, too.  Clearly, running is a great way to stay in shape and keep my mind in top creative condition.

Do you find that physical activity helps you with the creative process, Modern Philosophers?  When you are writing, do you think as visually as the way I described?  Are you as embarrassed of your sweating as I am of mine?


About Austin

Native New Yorker who's fled to the quiet life in Maine. I write movies, root for the Yankees, and shovel lots of snow.
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15 Responses to Running Gets The Creative Juices Flowing, Too

  1. I HAVE to exercise to write. It’s a thing for me. I run too, but the running isn’t as good for my writing as a long hike. Something about running shuts off my mind entirely, and I love that, but hiking (after the five mile mark) brings out ideas from seemingly nowhere. I also do Zumba, but that’s more to keep the pounds off and make an ass of myself in front of a large mirror.

    Sweat. Yes. My Zumba instructor sweats so much that he actually has to bring a mop to class so we in the front row don’t slip on it.

    I sweat a lot too, but I figure since he’s getting everyone covered in it too, they won’t be able to tell the difference between mine and his.

    • Austin says:

      Running is just the perfect time to drift off and plot out things in my mind. I suppose one of these days I’ll make a wrong turn or something, but so far, leaving my body on autopilot has always led to my making it back to The House on the Hill. 🙂

      It’s nice to hear your Zumba instructor sweat a lot, too…

      • Wow. You must be in great shape. When I run the most I can think is: “Don’t die. Don’t die. No, you’re not gonna die. Get to that mailbox. Maybe the closer mailbox will do.”

      • Austin says:

        I’m totally out of shape. My body just knows the route and all it wants to do is get home alive, so it has a vested interest in all this. 🙂

  2. Reblogged this on idealisticrebel and commented:
    I feel that beauty gets my juices flowing. Enjoy your shower. Hugs, Barbara

  3. floridaborne says:

    Be glad you weren’t trying to run in Florida. The temperature was 95 today where I live. I have fans in the window and rarely sweat. Other people are sweating at 80. I can’t run because it gives me shin splints, but I love to walk. Walking gets the brain going, too. 🙂

  4. Austin, I too, come from a long line of sweaters (not the cashmere kind). My knock knees and pronated ankle don’t allow me to run. I walk 3.25 miles or more every morning at dawn. My most creative ideas come during these walks out in nature. Cheap plug inserted here–my “Purloined Litter Mystery” idea came on a walk after viewing carelessly deposited street trash.

  5. I chose to swim instead. Too hot in Florida to run. I could wind up hospitalized with heatstroke.

  6. Glad to hear the juices are flowing for you, sounds like you have a lot of good things going on!! When I exercise I can’t think because I teach – lol. But I do most of my thinking when I take my walks, not much else to do but think 🙂

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