Winter Writing Exercises to Help You Embrace the Outdoors

Winter is officially here, which means chilly air, gray skies, and barren landscapes, all making it challenging to venture outdoors and enjoy nature. The weather might have you hunkering down, longing for inviting, warm, sunny days. If you find yourself struggling to spend time outside, which, for many, can contribute to increased feelings of sadness or even seasonal depression, reference these writing exercises to help you embrace the outdoors


Wake up each morning at the same time for a week and free write outside


For a week, start your day with nature. Consider waking up each morning at the same time for a week to free-write outside. Depending on your schedule, try to give yourself at least twenty minutes to a half-hour outdoors, so you don’t feel rushed to create. Grab a blanket, a warm cup of coffee, and your journal, then write whatever immediately comes to mind. Whether you’re inspired by your surroundings, or simply wish to write about your week, writing poetry outdoors can encourage your creativity. 


Spend an hour outside for a couple of nights and write poetry about the night sky


Conversely, choose a couple of nights to spend about an hour outside. Whether you live in a bustling city, quiet suburb, or rural town, the night sky provides endless creative inspiration for your poetry. When the sun sets and stars or buildings light up the winter sky, a place’s personality changes. Although winter can feel long and lifeless, looking up reminds you of nature’s beauty during the chilly season, encouraging you to spend more time outdoors. 


Take note of the different colored leaves in your yard, then write a poem!


If your home has an outdoor space, such as a front or backyard, take a nature stroll to catalog fallen leaves leftover from autumn. At first glance, they might all appear the same—but noticing the leaves’ variations in shape and shade can make winter seem less bleak and dull. Write about the leaves you gravitate toward and consider creative word choices (i.e., instead of “brown”, choose “auburn”). As you observe these details in nature, you might even notice a lone green leaf swaying in the subtle breeze, prompting inspiration for a poem. If you’re an artist, add an additional creative element to your writing by illustrating the leaves along with your poem. 


Go for a walk at a local park or trail each weekend for a month to inspire your poetry


If you live near accessible parks or trails, choose one to visit each weekend for a month—the more you visit a specific place, the more you’ll feel connected to the space and the more details you’ll notice, providing you with inspiration for your poetry. For example, take note of the various wildlife and their behaviors. Also, observe the landscape’s winter elements. When you arrive home, spend some time compiling your observations in a poem. This writing exercise will leave you excited to journey outdoors during the winter rather than dreading the challenging weather. 

As a challenge, consider completing all of these exercises—to stay organized, write in a journal you love and are excited to create in. Starting a project like this can reinvigorate your creativity and provide you with a roadmap to finding joy this winter.