5 Reasons You Should go to a Park to Write Every Day
Improve your day. Improve your creativity. Feel better.
You’re on Medium, so you’re a reader, and a writer, and you’re probably reading about how to write better. Yeah, me too. I spend a lot of time trying to improve my writing productivity, and lately, the best medicine I have found for my lack of word music is writing in the park.
Most of us spend our writing time in nearly identical positions: hunched over our keyboard, huddled in our office, scrunched up in our chair in some strange unrecommended shape with wide, red-rimmed glassy eyes and four empty mugs of coffee and tea beside us.
Probably some empty snack bags too.
We’re goblins of a different sort.
We’re Writer Goblins.
Lately however, my writing ability has diminished. I open up my projects to make the words happen … and the words … well they don’t happen. I have a novel that is a year late in the final rewrite. I have a short story that should have been published last August, but I only just sent off to my editor (not even all of it, it’s missing the final scenes). I have another short story that should have been rewritten and published last year, and a new short story with a deadline of June 30th that has barely begun.
I am f*cking behind.
But changing my habits has changed my workflow.
I usually do what many of you probably do when you’re too cramped up at home to write. I go to a cafe near my house where they know me so well they don’t even ask me what I want. I go sit down and my drink of choice is sat in front of me as soon as my ass hits the chair. Even there, however, my once flowing words have trickled away to a drought-ridden stream.
On a whim, I changed again. On a particularly grumpy day, where everything and everyone was making me angry, even my cat, I plonked my ass down in the park. In the middle of a warm, sunny field under a tree.
I sat there because I didn’t want to talk to the people at the cafe. If I went home then my neighbours would be waiting to invite themselves in and give me rubbish about being so secluded and not giving them enough attention. Something something *eyeroll* Trying a new cafe meant more money and potentially being tracked down by the people I was trying to avoid. (Hint: Everyone)
So I parked my ass in the grass and opened up my tablet and I lost myself. I don’t know how long I sat there, but it was nearly dark when I finally came up for air, and when I did I found over 17,000 words of new material. It may have no place in my novel, Repentance, but it has a place in my universe somewhere. Progress is progress.
Creativity is creativity. If nothing else, I learned more about my main character. That’s progress.
Where did this come from? Days of barely scratching the surface and wham. Magic happened. The magic of this little park.
Sitting in the park has also made me physically feel better. Imagine that. I’m now convinced that we all need to spend a couple of hours here and there, every chance we can, at the park writing our passions away.
1. It’s free.
Yeah, going to the cafe is fun, I love it. Food, drinks, good music, a heater or air conditioner, company … but it costs money to go, and the longer you stay the more you feel inclined to pay because you’re taking up a seat. The park, on the other hand, this magical space of green vastness is free.
2. Sunlight is good.
You’re not a vampire, and we don’t live in huts and caves anymore. You need Vitamin D. It’s healthy, and we, the dark, wide-eyed, shit eating little Writer Goblins need some healthy V-D in our lives.
It’ll make you feel better, trust me. You might scare off the little kids with your Writer Goblin face, but you’ll feel better and that’s the important part.
3. Nature is a different kind of quiet.
We need quiet when we work, maybe some light music. Sometimes I find the boisterous chatter of a cafe too much. The lady beside me laughs to loud, the man behind me won’t shut the f*ck up. The old waitress has learned to leave you alone but the new waiter keeps hovering like a puppy about to pee himself. The park has a different quiet. It has the soft rustle of trees and grass and birds, the happy barks of many, many doggies and puppies. There are people noises too, but they’re usually far off and, to me, meld in with the rustling leaves.
It’s a good kind of quiet ambience that you don’t really notice and is soothing to listen to.
4. Never the same view.
If you’re like me then change helps you build a writing flow. A change of scenery. A change of pace. A change of atmosphere. A different time of day. Going to the park, it’s free, you don’t have to wait for a seat, and you can sit anywhere and it’ll be like a new spot because there are infinite spots to choose from. Sit under that tree today, or at this bench tomorrow, or by that old oak the day after.
The main reason. Quite possibly the only real reason to go sit at the park every day is so you can enjoy the cuddles and pats of every single pupper and doggo to come by and say hello. Yesterday I met an adorable 4-month-old terrier named Dusty. Oh, sweet baby, I miss you. I also met her dad. He was an interesting man with a number of travel stories to tell.
As introverted as you may be, it’s good to go meet new people, even if it’s only to play with their dogs.
Go to the park.
You deserve it.