Writing Outside by Faith Van Horne

slidewaysI met Faith last fall when she commented on one of my Healthy Writers Club posts. I was fascinated when she mentioned how karate has helped her improve her writing and vice versa, so I asked her to write monthly posts about writing and exercise for us! Enjoy her insights this month on writing outside! And share you own in the comments!


As we head into mid-March, I can’t wait for the warmer, sunnier weather to kick in. Like many other residents of the American Midwest, I’m still pulling out the winter doldrums. But I keep chanting to myself, “Spring is almost here.” And with the improved weather come some great opportunities for improving both outlook and writing productivity.

The spring sun and warmth come with a number of health benefits. Sunlight triggers the production of Vitamin D in our bodies. In addition to helping with a number of processes like bone growth and cell regeneration, as I discussed a couple of months ago, keeping Vitamin D levels up can keep our mood positive and improve cognitive performance. Plus, the warmer weather encourages us to spend more time outside, moving around, instead of cooped up motionless inside, hunched in front of our various screens.

Not only that, recent studies are also lauding the health benefits of simply being in nature. In addition to lowering our blood pressure, evidence is mounting that time spent in natural setting may even help restore our ability to perform attention-needing tasks. So a walk in the woods by itself could make your writing sharper.

So how do we take all these spring weather benefits and transfer them to getting in our word counts? By writing outside, of course!

If you’re a traditionalist, you can pack up your notebook and pen and take it to the nearest copse of trees. Park your back up against an oak and let nature’s tranquility inspire you, Walden style. If you can’t get away from the laptop, make sure you’ve got a full charge on your machine before you go. Alternatively, some parks even have pavilions with electrical outlets. You can plug in and set up on a table while you enjoy the view all around.

We’ve also discussed walking around between writing sessions as a way to both get the creative juices flowing and work in some extra exercise. And what better place to walk about than the park in spring? You can even scan the park before you start and pick out different places where you can write: at a bench, in the midst of some trees along a wooded path, down by a body of water.

And if you’re someone who likes to take a few minutes to engage in a writing exercise or prompt to get your composition muscles warmed up, nature scenes are great inspiration. Take some deep breaths. How does this particular spot affect you? How about across the park? Do you find you write at a more leisurely pace at a table, more frantically by the water?

If you have some extra time and enjoy the outdoors, think about camping out overnight. Pack a tent, hit a nearby campground or even your backyard, and devote the day or weekend to writing and enjoying the scenery. If you have some writing friends, you can even make a group outing of it.

Whatever you do, enjoy the weather and let it inspire you!


Editor chiming in: Share your tips for writing outside with us!


Faith_thumbnailFaith Van Horne is the author of the young adult fantasy novel Slideways. She is currently putting together a collection of stories and working on another novel. Her new collection of stories, Super Sargasso, will be released at the end of March. In her free time, she practices karate, and even helps teach it a little. She blogs at Scribatious (faithvanhorne.blogspot.com).

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