Writing from Nature

Writing workshops that are not like other workshops

Join Chris Woodside for a workshop surrounded by nature, where you work on new ideas.

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.

Chris leads writers in tapping this energy productively, and regularly—immersing in the natural world, with no agenda. She has learned this technique from a quarter-century of exploring the backcountry of the Northeast. Chris has 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. She often hikes solo. New ideas walk right into the brain when she trudges over rocks, leaf duff, mud, and water.

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, either long or short, depending on your preference.

Chris’s workshops are for learning new ways of meeting your mind. She guides you to write many pages of new work and ideas.

Brenda Ueland said in 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 explore: Trails. Rocks. The urge to collect. Discomfort. The Dark. And More.

Here are a few elements writers liked about the second annual Writing from Nature workshop:

“Tailoring to different genres and skill levels.”

“The venue was quiet and undisturbed.”

“Positive, encouraging vibe.”

“Amazing and inspiring atmosphere.”

“Wonderful meals and great people.”

“Keynote talk Saturday evening, sharing of the five formative events that led to [Chris’s] career as a writer.”

“Food was awesome!”

“Writing prompts were really good—my first time. More, please.”

“I never felt pushed or rushed. Nice sense of pacing.”

“Warm and welcoming environment with warm and delicious food. Both had a very authentic feel. Both were unpretentious and both were a delight.”

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. Henry David Thoreau

For more information

Keep in touch with Chris about her future workshop plans.

[email protected]

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