Author Gillian Slovo steps out
To relieve stress I walk - fast and alone. Usually I walk to the heath which is about an hour from my home in West Hampstead. I like to know where I'm going so I do the same walk every time. I have a very bad sense of direction, which I think has to do with having moved countries.
I walk more or less whatever the weather. I don't go out if it's pouring, but if it is only drizzling, I'll put on a hat and go. I find writing becomes more difficult the more I do it because I am becoming more ambitious about what I write. Going to the movies also helps me to relax and sometimes I have been known to play the odd computer game.
It is pretty unhealthy sitting indoors looking at a computer screen - which is why I started taking walks. It's one way of straightening the back. I don't like talking as I walk. I'll say 'Hello' to people I know as I pass by, but I am not the kind of walker who likes to have a conversation. I don't like doing any exercise with other people.
Walking is my way of turning off, of not having to think about words. Sometimes it empties my mind and sometimes a thought that I have been looking for will pop into my head without effort. Sometimes I go back to my computer after my walk and the words come flowing out - but unfortunately I can't set that up.
Gillian Slovo is the daughter of South African activists Joe Slovo and Ruth First. Her biography, 'Every Secret Thing, My Family, My Country', was recently published in paperback by Abacus