Lit Life

Plan Your Next Outdoor Writing Excursion in Cleveland

Seeking inspiration for your latest writing project? Stuck staring at a blank page? I’m going to let you in on a little trade secret: changing up your usual writing location can be a huge help. And writing outside in the summer? A delight.

My favorite writing spot in Cleveland is the North Chagrin Nature Center, part of the Cleveland Metroparks. It’s close to my house and is full of shady trees, picnic tables, and benches facing beautiful views- perfect to inject a little inspiration into my writing projects.

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So how do you make the most of an outdoor writing jaunt? Some minor preparations can help you settle in faster, feel more productive, and stay longer to get the most out of your time.

What to Bring

  • Snacks
  • Bottle of water
  • Journal
  • Pens (more than one)
  • Scotch tape
  • Headphones/Music
  • Fully charged laptop
  • Books (at least one)

I don’t exactly travel light, but all of this fits into a tote bag. Snacks and something to drink are self-explanatory. Journal and pens should be, too. Always have extra pens. There’s nothing worse than getting a great idea, and being stopped mid-thought because your pen stops working. I never feel like I get the thought back in its entirety. Pack extras. I bring scotch tape in case I find something- a leaf, a flower, a handout- that I want to paste into my journal as a multi-media bit (remember meta-journaling?). Be nice to your park, though. Only take something that’s already fallen to the ground. Don’t pick flowers or leaves from live trees or bushes. Headphones are a nice way to block distractions- set a kick-Ascher playlist or Pandora station, and you’re in business. I don’t usually bring my laptop, but if you prefer to write in yours, make sure it’s fully charged! No outlets in the wild. And save often. Finally, bring a book for inspiration. I like having some Walden when I’m outdoors; it’s peaceful and calming.

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Choose Your Setting

I, personally, prefer to write at a table, but if I want a certain view, I can sit on a bench and write away. Figure out what works best for you. If you want a picnic feel, bring a blanket, sheet, or beach towel to spread out. Do you want to sit in the woods? Find a fallen tree or stump to make your camp. The Metroparks have a variety of lakes, pack bug spray if you get bitten easily or plan to be there a long time. My favorite place is a picnic table under a tree, overlooking a walking path and the lily pad pond. I get the occasional break when someone walks a dog past me, or I notice a heron stalking the pond.

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You have your supplies, you’ve picked your setting, all that’s left to do is go forth and write! Where are your favorite outdoor places to find inspiration and get work done?

Lit & Love,

Sarah Signature

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