Celebrating Earth Day: Writers and The Outdoors


Everyone’s familiar with the vampiric writer stereotype – we’re all pale, gaunt creatures who haven’t left the house in weeks. We can construct a wonderful metaphor about the sun, but we’d probably ignite if we actually stepped out into it. We’re morlocks staring at computer screens and blank pages. Outside? What the hell is that?

It’s a misleading stereotype, though, because some of our greatest inspiration comes from just being out in the fresh air. Nowadays, when most of us work on a computer, it’s a little difficult imagining getting anything accomplished so far from an outlet. But, just a reminder, pens and journals still exist, we swear.

Here are a few quotes from prolific writers who spent far more time out in the woods than they did cooped up with the curtains drawn:

“In the presence of nature, a wild delight runs through the man, in spite of real sorrows. Nature says, — he is my creature, and maugre all his impertinent griefs, he shall be glad with me” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.” – Margaret Atwood

“Now I see the secret of making the best person, it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth.” – Walt Whitman

“No man should go through life without once experiencing healthy, even bored solitude in the wilderness, finding himself depending solely on himself and thereby learning his true and hidden strength.” – Jack Kerouac

“I think that I cannot preserve my health and spirits, unless I spend four hours a day at least – and it is commonly more than that – sauntering through the woods and over the hills and fields, absolutely free from all worldly engagements.” – Henry David Thoreau

“Wow, those trees sure are pretty.” – This guy who works at theOffice

Okay, so getting outside a bit more might not turn you into a literary doyen, but it sure can’t hurt. So try writing outside this weekend. Sit under a tree, stare at a pond, take your Moleskine on a hike. We can’t think of a better way to foster the imagination and get the creative juices flowing. It worked for most of these writers, so maybe it’ll work for you, too.

Happy writing and happy Earth Day!

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