5 WRITING LESSONS FROM NATURE
Condensed from the book,
WRITING WILD, Forming a Creative Partnership with Nature
By Tina Welling
The outdoors is a natural teacher for us as we design
and conduct our creative lives. Wilderness and creativity are both wild spaces. They serve as birthing grounds for new energy. Because of this link between wilderness on our planet and creativity within humans, I looked to nature for direct and practical teachings about living and I found them.
1. Live and Write Like a Flower Grows
A flower does not concern itself with how fast or big or colorfully it blooms. It does not compare itself to other flowers as it develops. A flower doesn’t try to control the end result of its experience: who sees or uses the blossom or where or why or how.
2. Hatch Only the Number of Eggs You Can Nurture
Most birds lay between two and six eggs; that’s a good range of writing ideas to incubate at a time. We can learn by watching that not all of the eggs in the nest make it to maturity: some young birds fall out of the nest; some die of malnutrition; some become prey. This happens with our ideas as well. Jot down ideas for writing projects, put each one in a folder. Over time, as we consider each idea, other thoughts occur around it, and we can write those down and drop them into the folder. Those ideas that continue to engender interest and passion will gather enough material in the folder for us to begin a writing project. If an envelope doesn’t attract enough material, we let that idea fall out of the nest or become prey, meaning parts of the material gathered may be absorbed into other writing projects.
3. Exult in Each of the Seasons
If the earth had only one season, creative energy would not exist. If it were always summer, imagine how soon the planet would exhaust itself. Yet we often don’t feel good about ourselves unless, like the earth in summer, we are producing, accomplishing, achieving. Our culture doesn’t honor the times of rest and restoration in a person’s life, which is the earth’s autumn and winter seasons, as much as it does the productive periods. But we must have these periods for growing deep roots and restoring energy, in order to sustain flow.
4. Develop the Balance of Trees
Grow a root system that balances the spread of limbs. Writers need to develop a connection to earth, a relationship with themselves, and a sense of the divine. In short, writers need an inner life, one that matches the outer growth of accomplishment. People who branch out too far without a root system topple from fear or from extravagance. Writers who isolate themselves, directing all attention to the inner life, the roots, are prone to either a souring arrogance or its opposite, a sense of inferiority. But as a tree nourishes itself by releasing its leaves to replenish the earth around it, nourish yourself by both replenishing your inner life with solitary activities that deepen your awareness and releasing your skills to your community.
5. Howl Like a Wolf
Celebrate yourself, join your voice with the others in your pack, and let those not of your species know of your presence.
We are writers because we are stirred toward expression; therefore, we must communicate. Writers and artists perform the duties that a wise woman or medicine man does in aboriginal societies. It is our job to be “first aware,” to interpret, make connections, detect patterns, and notify the others. We bring into consciousness and put into words what otherwise may remain in the unspoken unconscious of ourselves and our community.
BUY WRITING WILD, FORMING A CREATIVE PARTNERSHIP WITH NATURE AT
VALLEY BOOKSTORE IN JACKSON HOLE, BARNES & NOBLE ANYWHERE, AMAZON ONLINE
To review or order: http://goo.gl/ngArY7
May 13, 2014: Publication date for WRITING WILD.
Jackson Hole Writers Conference: June 26th thru 28th I’ll be conducting a workshop based on WRITING WILD and critiquing manuscripts. Hope to see you there.