“In nature we never see anything isolated, but everything in connection with something else which is before it, beside it, under it and over it”- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Recently a friend and fellow writer had mentioned that his writing had been missing references to outdoor details lately because he had been stuck indoors due to health issues and authorial deadlines. He mentioned that he needed to get outside and do things again to get the feeling of environmental stimulus. This got me to thinking about how my life and environment affects my writing as well. I too have been stuck inside way too much while trying to finish up a story. So when my wife suggested we go out for a weekend of nature hiking and photography I was thrilled. I had just finished my last revisions on my story and I had some free time on my hands for the first time in a long while. We set out at one of the larger city parks in our area in search of Texas bluebonnets, our state flower which blooms only once a year in the Spring. We also went hiking on the nature paths that wind through the woods. I thought about how I would write a scene if one of my characters were walking along this trail:
The air was heavy and thick this far into the woods. The sound of dead brown leaves crunched and rustled underfoot with every step of his leather hiking boots. Somewhere up the trail a small animal scurried through the underbrush rattling the tangle of briars and sapling trees. The smell of mouldering vegetation and damp cool earth wafted through the woods, stirred by his tramping along the path. He walked further on then leaned against an old oak tree, feeling the furrowed roughness of the bark under his hands. The bark was cool to the touch, but had a feeling of vibrancy, a tangible aliveness to it.
Something like that anyway. So what are you waiting for? Get outside, experience the great outdoors and think about what you are perceiving while you are immersed in whatever setting you are placed. It doesn’t have to be a nature setting , it could be urban. A subway tunnel, busy city streets, etc. Let your senses record your surroundings and use it in your writing.
“How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.” -Henry David Thoreau