Do You Have a Pile of Papers to Read? Take a Walk!

IMG_0457As a writing teacher, you have piles of papers to read, and sometimes, believe me I know, it gets overwhelming. It’s a beautiful day outside, but you are stuck in your office. Your back is aching, your hand is cramping, and your mind is reeling.

Do you have a pile of papers to read? Take a walk!


When I have papers to read, I like to stuff them in a backpack, pack a lunch, fill a thermos with water and ice, and buy a little bottle of chardonnay, then I go somewhere outdoors with benches. For example, I often go to Golden Gate Park or the San Francisco Bay, but I am sure you have a nice park or a stream or even a pretty street near you. I sit on the first bench I come to with a nice view and read a paper. When I am done, I get up and walk ten minutes or so to another bench and read another paper.

Walking between papers gets you to stretch your body; it clears your mind so that you will come at the next paper from a fresh perspective, untainted by your response to the last paper. I am sure that my comments are much more supportive when I do the walk-and-read.

Of course, the walk-and-read takes more time (10-15 minutes more per paper, plus travel time), so I only do it when I am not in a great hurry. However, if I am not pressed for time, the best place to read is under a tree!


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