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.
On 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.
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?