My earliest writing was done near a window. During my childhood in Minnesota, it was often too snowy to go outside, but my second-floor bedroom window was near a tree, and I sat by that tree like some devotees sit near their guru.
As a teen, I started writing outdoors. We’d moved to Washington, DC, by then, and I often sat on a bench near the Capitol waiting for my mom to finish work so we could carpool home.
It seemed to me that I needed that sense of a context – the tree outside my window or the birds in the trees in the middle of the city – to give me the courage to tell the truth in my writing. Nature was a witness that allowed me to feel heard even when the words had not yet been shared.
Over the years, I’ve published a novel and several poetry books with nature themes and I’m about to do a book tour for my book, Earth Joy Writing: Creating Harmony through Journaling and Nature, which was released on Earth Day, April 22nd.
Along the way, I’ve noticed 3 mistakes that I have made myself and I often see environmental writers making, and I’d like to share them with you over the next three days.
1. Don’t think. Sit.
Sometimes because of our concern for the earth, we begin writing with a premise. A goal. An outcome.
But as Hemingway said, “Remarks are not literature.”
It took me a long time to learn this. I had to learn to be patient and let the language lead me where it wanted to go. I had to step away from the statistics and the dire predictions and let imagination take the reins.
Writing tip: Go outdoors for 10 minutes and do nothing.
Don’t write. Don’t brainstorm. Don’t plan.
Just observe what is around you.
Be with the natural world in a way, perhaps, you’ve forgotten.
Then let yourself write. See what happens.
I’d love to hear how you are just sitting today. Leave a comment below and let me know how Earth Joy Writing is helping you understand the importance of being present to your writing.