When writing, lift your eyes to the world


Yesterday, I stepped away from a busy day of writing to take a brisk walk around the neighborhood. It would do me good, I reasoned. The words and ideas that had been swirling in my head needed to be let out, given a chance to breathe some fresh air.


(Credit: Kerri S. Mabee)

So, I laced up my walking shoes, tucked some music buds in my ear and slipped out the door.

Read: Dead end writing– how to find your way out

I was nearly a full half hour into my walk when the sky let loose a pelting drizzle. The rain startled me only a little and forced me to look up.

The view before me was the one pictured here — a tree holding its leaves and clinging to its color in the mild Southern California autumn.

However, what most amazed me was that I’d managed to walk for so long with my eyes trained on the sidewalk, measuring my steps forward and thinking on the writing project I’d left behind.

What? How does staring at concrete serve my writing? It doesn’t.

Are You Writing Today?

This seemingly minor revelation was an important reminder that the success of my writing depends on my ability and willingness to step away from my work, but also experience the world around me. This is not always so easily done, especially when I feel like I have hit my writing stride.

Read: Hemingway: Keep some gas in the writing tank

As I have written about in the past, I am learning to leave my work while I still have gas in the tank, so that when I return, I am still revving with the energy of my last writing session. But, I am also beginning to realize that when I do break away, I need to keep my eyes open to all the burgeoning life and color that is brimming around me.

What about you? When is the last time you walked away from your writing desk? And when you do step away, are you allowing yourself the pleasure of smelling and tasting and feeling and seeing the world around you?

Read: Words come alive with the sound of music

Take a few moments to share your thoughts below. Or, I’d love to get a personal note from you. Write me at

Wishing you a productive writing day!

Kerri S. Mabee is managing editor at and founder of Breeze Media & Communications. Learn more about her at


Kerri S. Mabee

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