Prolific British author Ian McEwan must be following my blog. I happened upon a McEwan video in which he talks about the process he uses to conceive ideas and get inspiration for his many novels. The fascinating thing about his process is that it is similar to my experience with running and writing. In fact, I’d written about some of the same concepts in my blog. Check it out:
– McEwan does a lot of hiking and says that the rhythm of walking is very amenable to the rhythm of ideas. I agree completely. Hiking, jogging, cycling, running–any physical activity will release endorphins that stimulate ideas. Not long ago the header on my blog read, “Ideas Appear While on the Run.” And then there is also The Running and Writing Connection, which describes this same relationship.
– McEwan says he leaves space between books, meaning he consciously disengages from writing his novels and travels, attends conferences or any number of other activities to get ideas and inspiration. I’d written about the different ways runners can access their energy, including concerts, athletic events and the outdoors.
– And then the author talks about forcing an idea. He makes the point that forcing an idea gives him the freedom to experiment with a paragraph or more with no obligation to finish. That can be liberating. Earlier this year I wrote The Magic of Running to encourage runners who lack motivation on any particular day to commit to one mile or ten minutes, and let the rest take care of itself. Most times, a one-mile run turns into two, and so on, and so on.
So, do I really think that Ian McEwan is following my blog? As much as I’d like to think he is, it’s not likely. Nevertheless, it’s an idea that came to mind while I was out for a run.
Watch the entire three-minute video of Ian McEwan here: