Rewilding is a practice of protecting natural landscapes by “allowing” them to return to their natural state, to let the wild back in. We can apply these principles to our lives, and our creative efforts.
Here are some tips to rewild your writing.
- Time it with the day: In her book Rewild Your Home, Victoria Harrison suggests creating a light map of your home, noting which way it’s oriented and how natural light moves around the space. You could write in an east-facing room in the morning, for example, or under a skylight at midday, or edit your work in the afternoon at a south-facing window. Even if working on a screen, use natural light as a guide to your workday: when it’s dark outside, shut down your computer.
- Bring a little nature into your workspace: It can be as simple as a pebble holding down a scrap of paper, or a houseplant on the corner of your desk.
- Go for a walk: Take a break from your writing to gather material in the natural world. Make close observations of textures, how the wind moves through trees, the sound of your boots on dry leaves.
- Avoid sharp edges: Nature is full of free-flowing curves, rarely straight lines. Write outside the margins. Use notebooks without lines or grids. Free-write without a plan. Draw a map to your book, rather than an outline. Use found materials to collage or scrapbook your idea. If you’re on your computer, write and edit offline whenever possible.
- Let it be: Nature takes time to rest and replenish. Work rest time into your day and week. Perhaps you already do this with Shabbat/Sabbath, a day of rest.
- Fill your well: Do what Ray Bradbury recommends and read one short story, poem, and essay every night before bed.
- Work ahead of deadlines: Don’t feel “under the gun” to submit work. I live in the Pacific Northwest, and storms are common at this time of year. In order to avoid submitting work late when the power goes out, I aim to submit it early.
- Work with your system: There is a system at work in every ecosystem. Find the rhythm that works for you and your mode of creating and revising. Take it one step further and work with the seasons…I’ve dropped some suggestions into the comments for you.
- Write big and write wild. Take risks, explore new genres, savour language as it rolls around your mouth. You’re a wild creature…let writing be your path back to your wild self.