Writers these days are funny people. (Perhaps they’ve always been.) I spend hours at my computer, creating imaginary people, and then a few hours more interacting with other people who, for all I know, may well be imaginary too. (Have you seen some of the Face Book profiles out there?) It’s a life wholly of the mind, no body required.

Charles Dickens was a writer who knew the importance of getting out and about. According to a book by Jill Lepore, Dickens would write in the morning from 9 till 2, then prowl about the streets for as long as he had written, taking in the streets and sights of the day.

This year, I want to bring a bit more balance to my world. I want to spend more time outdoors, more time shutting down the constant chatter of my mind and shutting off social media, time spent observing what is around me, what I’m doing right this second, right here. For the next four weeks, I’m trying to get out of my mind (my eight-year-old helps me with this daily) and back into my body. I’m going to hike or do yoga as many days as possible, take a walk after dinner with the kids and the dog, stomp through the snow. I’m certain it will improve my  mood, and there’s evidence it might improve my writing as well.

My hiking partner.

My hiking partner.

What are your plans for 2013?

Liz Michalski


  1. vaughnroycroft on January 8, 2013 at 11:55 am

    Not only are my daily walks are vital to keeping me sane, they offer me clarity and perspective. I’m sure getting out daily improves my work as well as my health, physical and mental. If anything, I should lengthen them. Thanks, Liz!

    • liz on January 8, 2013 at 9:39 pm

      I’m envious of your walks, Vaughn — I’ve seen pictures. I’m hoping to get to our local beach one of these winter days, and when I do I’ll think of you and your wife!

  2. Leslie Peterson on January 8, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    I like it! Get out and about more. Count me in or rather out!! I seem to find that lately I resist going out I don’t know why… but have realized that once I do step out I find that I am happier, peaceful. I love moving through the snow, keeping myself warm because I am moving! I love looking up into the night sky as I close the barn up for the night; it makes me feel more alive somehow, more appreciative to go back to my snug home and family. So I’m with you, if not in person, then in spirit! Let’s get moving!! Let’s take notice of whats around us; maybe then we’ll appreciate what’s inside even more.

    • liz on January 8, 2013 at 9:41 pm

      I’m the same way, Leslie — I used to have a regular hiking date with a friend but our schedules are so different we almost never make it anymore. And it makes such a difference to my day. (Any time you want to hike, I’m around!)

      Also, I remember those nights closing up the barn — it was so calm and peaceful. I miss them. (But not the freezing cold early mornings!)

  3. Jan O'Hara (Tartitude) on January 8, 2013 at 6:29 pm

    I walk probably 5 days out of 7, and each time I set foot outdoors, within a half-block, I’ll be saying to my pooch, “I needed this.” It’s a revelation each time; I don’t understand why. You’d think after mumble-mumble years I’d know myself better.

    Would love if you’d report your month’s results. I

    • liz on January 8, 2013 at 9:42 pm

      Jan, I’m exactly the same way. What is it that keeps us from doing what makes us happy? If you figure out the answer, let me know! (And hold me to that check-in, please.)

      • Jan O'Hara (Tartitude) on January 10, 2013 at 11:30 am

        I have fairly good self-understanding of all the reasons I stop myself or forget to do the “right” thing, but insight alone doesn’t get me to change my behaviors. There are too many reasons not to change, including inertia.

        I have to restack the deck, and one thing that helps is peer pressure. Therefore, my friend, I’d be delighted to check up on you in a few weeks.

        Did you get out for a walk yesterday? How about yoga? 😉

        • liz on January 11, 2013 at 3:49 pm

          So far so good, Jan. Yoga twice, two short hikes, and a barre class. My body is very politely asking me to go back to living in my mind and to leave it the heck alone! : )

          • Jan O'Hara (Tartitude) on January 11, 2013 at 5:42 pm

            Good for you!

            I went back to dance class today. It’s been two years, and I can feel every one of those 730 days. I’m gonna be sore tomorrow. On the other hand, whee. Boy, I’ve missed losing myself in music.

          • liz on January 11, 2013 at 9:45 pm

            That’s great, Jan. Maybe together we can keep at it!

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