This is a guest article by Indiana Lee. If you want to submit a guest article of your own, be sure to read the guest article guidelines.
Living a creative life is both enriching and challenging. Yes, you undoubtedly have talents and perspectives that make your writing unique. However, you can’t always rely simply on your internal resources. That wellspring can occasionally run a little dry. The good news is that there are resources for unleashing creativity all around us. The great outdoors has long been considered a renewing influence for artists. Why not consider how you can effectively step beyond your writing space and explore what nature has to offer?
Inspiration can come from anywhere. However, this doesn’t always mean it’s going to find you when you’re in the same old surroundings. Sometimes you need to actively seek out inspiration elsewhere. Outdoor exploration can be an excellent way to shake up your routine and uncover new sources of creative ideas.
So, how can you make the most of this?
- Go outside your comfort zone: Many people have a set of outdoor spaces they head to regularly. This can certainly be a good stimulator of inspiration. However, you may spark fresh thought processes by trying some new spaces. This may include traveling to state parks with a slightly different climate or exploring features you’re not entirely familiar with. Sleep under the stars occasionally. These types of activities can help you to think in different ways and learn something about yourself.
- Team up with outdoor tours and experts: Sometimes, getting fresh perspectives from other people is a great way to gain inspiration from nature. Join outdoor tours or interact with experienced outdoorspeople. They may be able to provide you with histories of the people who have made an impact on these outdoor environments. They could introduce you to areas of outstanding beauty you may not have otherwise come across. Even seeing nature from someone else’s point of view can help you to think about the world and your writing a little differently.
That said, try not to be frustrated if your time in the outdoors doesn’t immediately spark direct inspiration. Sometimes the greatest benefit as a writer is just taking a break from the grind. Indeed, outdoor environments are scientifically recognized for restoring attention, which can help stimulate your creative thinking.
Stimulate the senses
Your senses are among the most powerful tools you have as a writer. When you have a clear connection to them, they can enable you to make your descriptions, narratives, and character perspectives richer and more authentic. Exploring outdoors offers myriad opportunities to stimulate your senses both to bring you closer to them and refill your creative toolbox.
Consider some of the following approaches:
- What you hear: A lot of people comment on how quiet natural spaces are compared to the city. However, there are plenty of fascinating sounds to draw from. Perhaps spend a little time staying quiet and observing things around you. This can help you to pick out noises or birdsong. This doesn’t just give you more descriptions for your writing. You can be enriched by the soothing natural sounds of the creaking trees in the forest or the surf hitting the shoreline.
- What you feel: Try to be open to reaching out and touching things. Stroke the surface of tree bark, let the drops of forest rain fall on your face, feel babbling creeks running through your fingers. Pay attention to both how you feel physically and what emotions these sensations stir up.
Remember, though, that stimulating your senses shouldn’t be entirely at the expense of your comfort. Yes, the forest rain can feel great, but getting soaked to the skin might not be the most positive outcome. Dress in clothing that is appropriate. The better you dress, the more time you’re likely to be able to spend getting connected to your senses.
Stay safe and secure
The great outdoors can undoubtedly boost your creativity. That said, you shouldn’t ignore the potential health and safety risks. An accident or illness is unlikely to put you in the mood for writing. Remember that maintaining your well-being is essential to creativity.
Some of the ways you can best protect your health during outdoor explorations include:
- Thorough preparation: Take the time to research the areas you’re planning to visit. What are the challenges people often face in these spaces? What equipment tends to be recommended by experts? Look at the weather forecast on the day you plan to head out. The better-quality data you can gather, the more effectively you can plan.
- Know your limits: Yes, going outside your comfort zone is great. But you shouldn’t overestimate your abilities. By being honest with yourself about your abilities and needs, you can plan appropriate time scales for activities and take the tools that support you.
- Respect the outdoors: One of the ways people often get into trouble outdoors is by treating the landscape flippantly. Be mindful of interacting with wildlife and give animals plenty of space. Remember that not every tree, rock, or feature is suitable for climbing.
Don’t let the potential hazards put you off entirely, though. The wild nature of the outdoors is one of the things that can make it such a rich creative resource. Just be sensible about your approach and take well-informed actions.
The outdoors has a lot to offer you as a creative writer. When you take a responsible approach, regular exploration can spark inspiration and help reconnect you with your senses. This doesn’t mean that your writing has to be purely about your outdoor experiences, though. The sensations and challenges of nature can give you perspectives that inform various types of writing. Finding new ways to use these is an enriching exploration in itself.
About the author: Indiana Lee lives in the Northwest and has a passion for the environment and wellness. She draws her inspiration from nature and makes sure to explore the outdoors regularly with her two dogs. Indiana has experience in owning and operating her own business. Feel free to follow her on Twitter @indianalee3.