The Importance of Place When Writing

by , Tuesday December 1, 2015
The Importance of Place When Writing


The Light That Gets Lost author Natasha Carthew spends most of her time writing outside in all weathers. Read her blog post about the importance of where you write – and why she’s so drawn to the outdoors. 

A guest blog by Natasha Carthew



The natural world draws writers, offering solace, inspiration and a wealth of narratives.


Even if we don’t write about nature, nature generates the stories we tell. This is because everything we know about creating, we know intuitively from the natural world. You can set the stage for creation by following these three steps: consciously naming the information gathered by the senses, describing the sensory details of one particular thing, and interacting with the energy system of the earth.


As writers we must strive to make this kind of connection between the everyday and the hidden, noting the beauty all around us to develop a rich relationship with wildness inside and out.


When I write I’m drawn to the outside countryside around me out of necessity. It’s a way to clear my head and immerse myself fully in the world that my characters inhabit.


As a Young Adult Writer, the countryside is very important to me. It’s where my characters get to survive in the open elements, make sense of their lives and generally play havoc. This is their environment; they own it.


I wrote my first book, Winter Damage, entirely outside ­– from the time ideas started to form in my head to the final editing process. It wasn’t long before the young protagonists sat down with me and trusted me enough to share their incredible story.


The answer to the question of whether writing outside is more creative is undoubtedly yes. Most people spend their lives looking through windows at this other world – windows in houses and cars and TV/computer screens that they visit as third party spectators. Writing outside, especially if writing a book set mostly in the wild, might seem a challenge to some writers but it is recommended, even taking a walk before writing brings you closer to your creative self and opens your mind to all the possibilities available to you.


A top tip for any aspiring writer considering writing outside is firstly to dress weather-wise; sitting outside is going to be way colder than a stroll in the woods. Sit someplace sheltered so you don’t get wet or sunstroke or have your notebook ripped from your hand by howling gales. Bring a pencil in case the air is damp. Views are good, even in a park or on the roof of a block of flats. The more perspective you have the more you see (you are an artist), and don’t forget the detail that exists in everything.





Natasha is a Country Writer from Cornwall where she lives with her girlfriend of nineteen years. She has had three books of poetry published. Her first novel, Winter Damage, was nominated for the 2014 Carnegie Medal and shortlisted for several national awards including the prestigious Branford Boase Award 2014.

Her new book, The Light That Gets Lost, is out now. She has recently completed her third book, also for Bloomsbury.  She runs 'Wild Writing' workshops and spends most of her time writing outside in all weathers.




Check out the author's website:

Find her on Twitter @natashacarthew 


See The Light that Gets Lost Writing Compeition       

Where do you like to write? Tell us in the comments section!

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