Cancel / Hide
Skip to Content

Writing from Nature on hiatus in 2017

Watch this space for news about upcoming workshops

Walking, observing, and listening in nature opens writers to new ideas. How does that work?

We had some unforeseen circumstances that led to cancelling the workshop scheduled for June 2-4 at Cold River Camp in Chatham, New Hampshire. I have plans for one- and multi-day workshops in the future. Consider joining me at another workshop I lead for the Appalachian Mountain Club, Writing from the Mountains

For testimonials about the 2016 Writing from Nature weekend, click here.

Many writers know that their work is not merely an indoor, sedentary pursuit but that the best ideas come in a flash while we are doing other things that have nothing to do with writing.

I teach you how to tap this energy productively, and regularly—immersing in the natural world, with no agenda. I have learned this technique from a quarter-century of exploring the backcountry of the Northeast. I have hiked thousands of miles on Eastern mountains, including the entire Appalachian Trail and all of the 4,000-footers in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. I often hike by myself. New ideas walk right into the brain when I trudge over rocks, leaf duff, mud, and water.
 

Writing from Nature is not like other workshops. It teaches a new method for good writing. It can transform how you work whether you write truth or fiction, short or long, poetry or prose. Away from distractions in a rural, quiet, wild setting, you will write without goals in mind. You will enter a new place of your mind as you learn to watch, listen, and smell the natural world.

Bring with you your hopes and plans. What are we working on these days? What have we hoped to start? An essay? A diary? A book on Dad's war service or your seven relocations as a kid? You will find ways to think about these, using the surprising lessons of nature to get there.

The 60-20 Principle

We writers think we have to sit like monks to work. We spend hours in a seat holding back the wild beast, followed by a few minutes, perhaps, watering the flowers. In this workshop you learn to reverse that thinking. My usual formula is 60 minutes of walking followed by 20 minutes of writing. In New Hampshire, we compress that a bit; you establish a shorter walking and writing routine we will follow a few times over the weekend. We also will take one field trip to a trail, where many options for long or short routes match your ability and interest.

You come to Writing from Nature leaving behind any particular writing projects. While you are here, you learn new ways of meeting your mind. I guide you to write many pages of new work and ideas. 

Brenda Ueland said, in her book If You Want to Write, that if we walk only to fulfill a grim exercise regimen, all we do is tally our lives or tasks. Instead of this, our aim together on Stone Pond will be: stop thinking about the destination, and turn off the noise. Be more like a dog, sniffing. Then, new thoughts drift in as if from nowhere.

We will explore: Trails. Rocks. The urge to collect. Discomfort. The Dark. And More.

“Inspiration does not come like a bolt, nor is it kinetic, energetic striving, but it comes into us slowly and quietly and all the time. ... We must prime it with a little solitude and idleness.” —Brenda Ueland

“Every child begins the world again, to some extent, and loves to stay outdoors, even in wet and cold.” —Thoreau.

Match rate to your situation