I will tell you what I have learned myself. For me, a long five or six mile walk helps. And one must go alone and every day. I have done this for many years. It is at these times I seem to get re-charged. If I do not walk one day, I seem to have on the next what Van Gogh calls “the meagerness”…
My explanation of it is that when I walk in a carefree way, without straining to get to my destination, then I am living in the present. And it is only then that the creative power flourishes.
Of course all through your day, however busy you are, these little times come. But they are very short in most lives. We are always doing something—talking, reading, listening to the radio, planning what to do next. The mind is kept naggingly busy on some easy, unimportant, external thing all day.
That is why most people are so afraid of being alone. For after a few minutes of unpleasant mental vacancy, the creative thoughts begin to come. And these thoughts at first are bound to be depressing, because the first thing they say is what a senseless thing life is with nothing but talk, meals, reading, uninteresting work and listening to the radio. But that is the beginning. It is just where your imagination is leading you to see how life can better.
But if you would only persist. If you would continue to be alone for a long time, amblingly swinging your legs for many miles and living in the present, then you will be rewarded: thoughts, good ideas, plots for novels, longings, decisions, revelations will come to you.
--Brenda Ueland, If You Want to Write: A Book About Art, Independence and Spirit, pp. 42-44
FROM A NIGHT WALK IN SILVER LAKE