Time to Write? Go Outside

The New York Times:

Fall promises crisp days with ample sunlight, a lifting of the humidity and ideal temperatures for being outdoors. This also means my writing will be getting better.

Nothing coaxes jumbled thoughts into coherent sentences like sitting under a shade tree on a pleasant day. With a slight breeze blowing, birds chirping melodies, wee bugs scurrying around me and a fully charged laptop or yellow legal pad at hand, I know I’ll produce my best work.

I stumbled upon my ideal writing conditions quite by accident. When a particularly troublesome set of captions for a National Geographic story I was working on was causing me conniptions — that yellow-bordered magazine takes those captions pretty seriously — I charged out of the house and down to the Potomac River, with notes, photograph photocopies and pen in hand. I planted myself at a picnic table, stared at the water and let my brain go all mushy. I relaxed my eyes, focusing on nothing.

Back in the 1970s, two pioneering environmental psychologists, Rachel and Stephen Kaplan, began investigating nature’s healing effect on the mind. Decades later, their studies concluded that connections with nature could help us shirk mental fatigue, restore drifting attention and sharpen thinking. Even in an urban environment, a little green stimulates our senses, they report.

Read the whole story: The New York Times

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