Finding Your Special Place: Writing in Nature

I believe that when you write, if it’s something you love and feel passionate about, you’ll make time for writing, no matter how busy your schedule. But I also know that sometimes we need a special place to kick start our energy levels, think about our process, or to help us rediscover the joy.

Nature and animals play a big part of my everyday life; I live in rural West Cork on a farm next to the sea, and I also grow my own vegetables and catch my own fish. This is a dream come true for me and it helps me get lots of exercise and fresh air in between my writing sessions. It provides balance.

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One of the views from the Blue Mountains National Park during my Varuna Residency

Even though I grew up in a council estate with very little greenery, I was always fascinated by nature and managed to find it in the unlikeliest of places: weeds growing in pavement cracks, ladybirds on the fence, caterpillars hiding under dock leaves, moths behind the curtains, the robin that came to steal the milk by pecking its way through the bottle top. Wherever you are, nature can be found.

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My dog & a newt that I rescued from his water bowl

Nature makes me feel settled and calm, and even though I love city life too, I find the countryside provides more headspace and also less distractions, so I get lots of writing and lots of reading done. I work from home so I don’t have a commute, which means that breaks can be used for weeding, or walking the dog on the hills or the nearest beach.

The beauty of books is that they transport you to other worlds, and no matter where you are, you can travel to anywhere you want. This is how I feel about being in nature also – I find it freeing. It allows a release. Sometimes it can be difficult to tune in, but walk somewhere wild and soon your surroundings will mesmerize you; whatever worries or concerns you have will melt away.

Although I love it, I can’t always be outdoors – it’s not practical. I’d never get a book finished! I have a room where I write – it’s a tiny room in a mobile home, but it’s mine. Undisturbed, organised, filled with small inspiring trinkets like pebbles collected from beaches and paintings by friends. When I walk in this room I switch my brain to writing – I can leave my other duties and responsibilities outside. My desk faces a (sky blue) wall and, unsurprisingly, there are four framed flower pictures at eye level, so whenever I look up, I still see nature.

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Deadlines looming – a long walk always helps, whatever the weather

I type my novels directly onto my computer, but one of my biggest pleasures is getting away from the desk, and taking long walks with a notebook. Sometimes it is to unravel a plot problem, but usually, it’s to find new ideas or start new projects. Sitting on a grass bank, with rushes whispering behind me, the words flow. And they’re different words to those I would find at my desk. There’s a freedom in going where your feet take you, letting your mind wander too.

Not everyone will be inspired by nature, but I do believe that everyone needs a special place where they can retreat to – to reenergize, to concentrate, to think freely. It could be a busy café, an art gallery, a train; whatever works for you. Understanding your own process and what inspires you and your writing is one of the best gifts you can give yourself. I’d love to know – what is your special creative space?

Amazing skies

stunning West Cork landscape

Collecting gorse to spark up the fire

This is a brief post today – and more about living rurally than writing. You’ll see why in a minute. It might even take your mind off this freak cold weather for a moment.

Living rurally, we’re lucky to have the opportunity to make our lives as self sufficient as possible. The other day, myself and my husband were out collecting gorse for kindling. It was a lovely bright and warm day when we set out, but as you probably know, Ireland is prone to some weird weather habits.

Firstly, we were showered with hail, even though there was an incredibly bright sun. We could see dense clouds in the distance, and Cape Clear was getting a battering, but there wasn’t a hint of cloud near us.

Incredible West Cork sunset

Such elegant shapes…

Distracted for a moment, we watched the dark skies sweep across Atlantic, before carrying our bundles home. However, we couldn’t resist returning as night fell…

Just look at these amazing cloud formations and colours! The perfect example of how your environment can inspire your work or your motivation to work. I couldn’t resist sharing. There are no filters or camera tricks involved, I promise…

Sunset, West Cork

…and dramatic colour.

West Cork, sunsets

You can see the hail cloud clearly here

gorgeous skies, west cork

Isn’t the orange stunning?

Watching the sky change was an incredible experience – something we do frequently, but probably not frequently enough. After all, thanks to these skies, these views, this fresh air, I manage to write with a clear mind and happy heart. What more could I ask for?

What encourages you to keep writing?