Nature Saved My Writing

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Before I graduated college, I lived for a month at a family friend’s lakehouse. This lake house was a tech-free zone—no internet, no cell service, no landline phone, and had a TV with only three channels. When I first arrived, I was in a terrible emotional place and frustrated with my lack of internet. I had struggled with writing and anything creative for most of 2017. At this point in my life, I had to complete an essay for workshop and I believed that nothing would ever come to me or be as good as my last essay. However, at the tech-free lake house, I stumbled upon my own version of Thoreau’s Walden Pond.

Many authors including Thoreau and Emerson have turned to nature for inspiration and healing, but in their day there weren’t the distractions of today’s world. They didn’t worry about their Facebook notifications or emails during their writing time. Instead, their writing time was pure and involved nature. My writing time was full of distractions and only involved staring at screens.

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary." - Henry David Thoreau

While staying at the lake house, I was trying to write “Redlight,” but I couldn’t seem to get anything done just staring at the computer. I decided to walk to the dock and do a classic version of writing involving only a notebook and pen. I removed my shoes and slipped my feet into the cool water. The moment my feet touched the lake, my ideas began to flow. The writer's block I had experienced in my unhappiness and tech-filled life, vanished and became a free-flowing stream. My creativity I had missed for so long was returned to me.

With my creativity returned, my mood flourished and I wrote (in my opinion) one of my best essays to date. The life my work had by being handwritten on a dock, or watching geese in the morning light, was worlds better compared to the first bad draft I did of the essay. I am confident that nature healed my soul. To this day, I find my best writing comes from my experiences in nature.

Even though retyping handwritten notes is time-consuming, I find it helps with the editing process because I get to reread everything I have written earlier than I would have in another writing process. Retyping my own words, allows me to connect with them deeper and figure out what my essay is truly about. Time is an illusion to me if it means I am getting my best creative work.

So what are you supposed to get from my anecdote? I would encourage you to make time to read and write in nature. Take the time to really feel the earth around you and allow it to fill your creative spirit. Even better, forget your phone when you walk out the door. We may have advanced in technology in the world, but we can’t ignore the power of writing with pen and paper rather than a laptop. “Live life simply” and find your next piece of writing while watching a goose swim on the lake water. It may save your writing like it did mine.

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