Get Fit, Write Book

I have been reading a lot lately about the dangers of sitting down for eight hours a day. (Check out this Mashable Infographic.)

The latest and possibly greatest tools in my writing arsenal are the iPhone and the great outdoors. Finally, a device that unshackles the writer from the desk and allows them to write, freely, outside while walking in sunshine and breathing fresh air, staving off heart disease and cancer and myriad other diseases associated with sitting in a chair all day.

The best thing is that it feels creative and loose and free and brings the writing process alive.

I spent three days recently walking on the beach for 3+ hours each day, writing a book… in Notes on my iPhone as I walked. Sounds distracting and unproductive but they were three of the least distracted, most creative and productive days I have ever had.

This approach fits perfectly with my need to feel like I am bunking off from something. I was able to fool myself that it wasn’t really work which freed me up to write whatever came to me. I wasn’t writing in anything that looked like an ‘official’ manuscript, so I wrote freely. I sketched ideas and scenes and dialogue onto the ‘page’ without needing them to be perfect. (Great for first draft, not sure how I will go with rewriting.)

The first day I carried a heavy laptop bag on my back with shoes hanging off it. By the third I took my phone, a mandarin, a muesli bar and left everything else in the car. The movement, air and sunshine, the white-noise roar of the ocean – perfect conditions for laying words onto the page. (In fact, I am writing these very words while walking the beach. Better get back to manuscript. 😉

I dare you to try it and let me know about your own active writing safaris. (At the very least, try to write standing up, like Hemingway!)



  1. June 24, 2012 / 10:13 pm

    What a brilliant idea, Tristan (I don't want to read that article – I sit for MORE than 8 hours a day!). I love it and need it. I've taken to starting my day with a half hour on the treadmill (whilst reading – hopeless!) and try to get up occasionally and do high kicks and squats and a few short sessions of yoga. But your idea is even better! Inspired.

  2. June 25, 2012 / 1:36 am

    Cheers, Tania. I just tried doing a high-kick and pulled a hamstring. So, thanks for that. 😉 No, I think movement, like Nature, seems to be a key to unlocking creativity. And I plan to live to 117 so I figure I better not become obese by the time I'm 60, or 70 or 80 from sitting down writing all day. Glad you're inspired. Me, too, by your tips. (Better go get some ice on that hammy.)

  3. July 1, 2012 / 9:49 pm

    I loved this. I'd like to try with a good voice recorder because I don't like using the touchpad. But on the beach or in the countryside – brilliant. 🙂

  4. July 5, 2012 / 11:28 am

    Dragon Dictate app for the iPhone might be a good option, then it can type your voice notes. 😉 Cheers Evie. T

  5. March 13, 2013 / 3:04 am

    I recently set up a stand-up desk in my study. I do all my emails/design/businessy stuff on my big 27" desktop, but all my writing gets done on my feet. The improvement in my shoulder stress is off the chart.

    I'd probably try the writing on my iPhone while I walk, although living where I do, I'd probably end up at the bottom of a sandstone cliff.

  6. March 13, 2013 / 4:00 am

    Hey James

    Yeah, maybe don't try the iPhoneLit cliff walk.

    Although it would make the process exciting. Maybe you could advertise an iWriting workshop up at Echo Point for people who are stuck, creatively. Something to spice it up a bit, give their work an edge.


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