When Walking Has Replaced Writing

How my morning routine has changed (yet again)

Anna Burgess Yang

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Image created via Midjourney

My morning routine is fairly predictable. I am often awake by 4:00 a.m. I write for two hours. The rest of my family wakes, and we begin breakfast.

Until recently, by 7:30 or so, I would return to my computer, and that was my “personal writing time.” That earlier two-hour chunk was reserved for deep work, but at 7:30 for about 45 minutes, I would work on a blog post or write here on Medium.

That changed a few weeks ago. I started taking long walks in the morning. It began as a way to quell some anxiety. I had set a boundary with someone from my past, and that person forced his way back into my life (until I set a more firm boundary on communication). It unnerved me. And even though the interaction was brief and then over, I spent several days with my heart racing — reliving a lot of bad memories.

It was hard to work (especially when my work depends on writing) when I felt so off-balance. So I turned to walking. I would write, walk. Write, walk. Repeat throughout the day, writing in smaller chunks and then getting out into the sunshine. I was walking several miles every day.

It didn’t take long for the anxiety to quell, as I continued to reassure that overactive “fight or flight” response from my body “You’re fine. It’s over and done.” Yet, I found that I continued walking. By that time, I had formed a wonderful habit to break up my day, particularly when I felt “stuck” with writing.

Except… my first walk of the day is now at 7:00 a.m. The time that I used to do my personal writing.

As I type this out, I realize that I haven’t posted in Medium for three weeks, and I used to write at least once per week. So while I am enjoying my walks immensely, I am now trying to figure out how to recapture some time in my day for my own writing.

I try to fit all of my writing into the morning — before noon. I don’t write as well in the afternoon. I have recognized that walking eats into my writing time, but I feel that I am benefitting in so many other ways that it is worth adjusting.

Yet because of that limited chunk of productive writing time, I will see if I can do personal writing in the afternoon (gasp). The writing I do in my own blog and on Medium is usually not as brain-intensive, so perhaps that is the happy medium (haha). My kids are home by 4:00 p.m., and they usually occupy themselves until dinner, so there is a window of time there… if I can manage to take advantage of it.

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Anna Burgess Yang

Productivity geek + solopreneur. Niche freelance writer. #5amwritersclub frequent flyer. • https://start.annabyang.com/