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  • Mike Demilio


One of the most powerful weapons in your arsenal as a writer is your feet.

The sole of each foot has more than 200,000 nerve endings in it.

Did you ever notice how many ideas you get when you're simply wandering around? That's why.

Some of the greatest minds in history did their best thinking while strolling with students or friends.

Aristotle even founded an entire school of philosophy, the peripatetic school, on this principle. (Peripatetic, adj. "Of, relating to, or given to walking.")

Some writers connect with ideas in the woods, clearing their minds and letting nature inspire them. Some wander city streets, taking in all of the sights and sounds.

My own method is to walk until I get ideas, then record them as voice memos on my phone. People think you're on a call, so it's not weird.

It's the perfect way for a young person to be productive and also blow off excess energy. I recommend to my students that they do a quick brainstorming exercise first.

Look through old photos and social media posts to spark some memories, then get out for a walk and think about possible topics for your personal statement.

If you unplug from music or podcasts and listen to your own thoughts, some amazing things happen.

You begin to synthesize the random inputs your mind has received into ideas of your own. Your imagination surges into the silence in your mind.

Some of the most interesting thoughts come up, and if you capture them with a quick voice memo you can develop them into good essays.

Give it a try. Your brain will thank you for the jump start, and your body will thank you for the fresh air.


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