Basics to better writing: get outside
I thought I’d start a mini-series titled ‘basics to better writing.’
You’d have heard it all before (especially if you’re an avid reader of The Writing Coop!), but I thought it would be a fun project to take on.
So, with that said, here’s the first in the series, titled ‘get outside.’ I hope you enjoy!
Always start with the why. In layman’s terms, writing is a minefield, and stepping away from it all is no bad thing.
In fact, getting outside and smelling fresh air is as vital to writing as writing itself. It clears your head, lets you get your thoughts in order and helps you overcome any barriers you may have.
The Harvard Business Review suggest you schedule your breaks accordingly, billing them as ‘part of the process.’ They claim that breaks are the source to solving your problems, and there are always problems as a writer.
It’s not enough to switch off one screen and switch on another. Television does you no good. For true clarity, step outside and leave your devices at home. Be with yourself, please.
Anywhere, of course!
I live in London, which means when I go outside, I step into the urban wild. Police cars whizz by non-stop, people shout at me, people ignore me. As a London-living writer, there is ample inspiration outside.
If you’re a countryside dweller, I envy you. You have it best. You have quiet and calm. You have a chance to be with your thoughts and figure your stuff out without distraction. You really do have it all.
Go and abuse it.
When you’re feeling stuck. When you’re feeling uninspired. When you’re feeling low, lonely or down and out. Go and take a break. Go and be with yourself and explore a new coffee shop or take a new trip. Just get out from behind your desk and leave your pen behind.
You’ll come back feeling refreshed and in control, like Han Solo in the Millennium Falcon.
Take a walk. Take a hike. Go for a run. Go for coffee. Go for a beer. Go and sit in the park. Go and read a book.
The ‘how’ of it shouldn’t even be written down. It doesn’t matter how, what matters is that you get outside and switch off, become present with yourself or enjoy the company of others without thinking about your writing.
In two weeks, I’m going to Mexico to hang with some friends. No phones, no laptops and out-of-office emails. Sweet peace for an entire week.
I know that when I land, I’ll be urging to tell stories again and get it all down on paper. I’ll be craving a good writing session. And you know what? I’ll likely write twice as hard and so much more creatively.
Breaks are important, embrace them.
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