Why Write Outdoors?

Why it is that I love to write outdoors?

At first I was just desperate to unchain myself from my desk, break out of the building, and write in nature. I craved seeing something other than a computer screen. I wanted to feel the movement of the pen again, instead of just the striking of keys.

I wanted to free up the qualities of ‘wild’ in myself and my words- expressiveness, spontaneity, the untamed, the intuitive. I dreamed of becoming the writer that I’d always wanted to be. Writing begins with living.  How could I write in full colour, if I wasn’t living in full colour?

Once out there, stripped of the trappings of society, I felt I could be more honestly myself, and that my words could be more honestly themselves too. I found that surrounded by movement, my words gained a sense of movement and drama too. When I explored and went into unknown territory, my words followed hot on my tail.

The closer I looked at the minutiae of nature, in order to describe it in words, the more vivid the outdoor world became, and the more I needed to express what it, and its salvation meant to me. It’s a virtuous circle. Not only is great writing enabled by living fully and vibrantly, living is also enabled by bringing our attention to a writing subject that embodies those qualities. Picking out details of nature to describe, I saw that everything was hitched to everything else in the universe. The world was indeed in a grain of sand, and the ocean in a drop of water.

And above everything else, I love to write outdoors because it is truly the most joyous experience. In the words of American poet, E.E. Cummings, the world becomes ‘mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful’. There is no better feeling than when my words canter on the broad savannah, dive deep in the dark ocean, and swoop in the vast blue sky. 

Photograph courtesy of Peter Reid.

The Weekly Prompt

Why are you a writer-in-the wild? Please write and tell me about it.

This article was first published on May 14th 2013