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Five Tips For Writing About Nature

Updated on March 24, 2011

Writing about nature

When we write about nature, we need to know exactly what we're writing about. There are two main ways to get that information.

One way is to research the topic. We could read books, do internet research, or interview other people. We'll get second-hand information, some of which may be worth sharing.

The second way is to experience nature ourselves. We can get out into it, go meet that tiger, and surround ourselves with the beauty we want to express in words. We can get excited and do our nature writing while we're still full of enthusiasm. This will help us prepare articles people will really enjoy reading.

An astute writer who wants to write about nature with authority and sensitivity will use both these methods together, however this list of five tips focuses on writing about nature by experiencing it.

Mt. Shasta

Mt. Shasta - California
Mt. Shasta - California | Source

David Rains Wallace's direct experience of nature in the Northern California wilderness produced this award-winning nature journal:

1. Write from experience

There's no better way to write about nature than to be in it. Explore the world, get caught up in it, and experience its fragrance. Take a trip to the great outdoors, meet new animal friends, and revel in Earth's beauty.

Sitting in an office with the computer and four walls just won't do. Computers emit EMFs and that's certainly a type of nature we could write about, but for most of our nature writing, we're not going to find the best research opportunities indoors. A houseplant or two may cheer up our interior environments, but outdoors the plant life is abundant.

To really express what nature is, how it looks and the feelings it evokes in you, being in the wild wilderness or even a cultivated garden, or with your rabbit, or in a cave full of bats is best. What focus of nature do you love most? Is it the animals, the plants, the clouds, the mountains or... something else? Go there! Be there! See what you want to write about and write about what you see.

You need experience to really understand what you're focused on expressing in words. If you only read about a flower on the internet or in the encyclopedia, can you detect a fragrance? Can you tell us if the stem is thin or thick? Can you lean over and look at its stamens and count them while inhaling its beauty?

There's nothing quite as effective as direct experience when you're writing about nature.

A Moleskine nature journal can be a most treasured companion:

2. Have a nature journal for describing what you experience

While you're out in the world, rather than just sitting quietly and observing, have a notebook you can pull out and write in. I like to keep my nature writing journal in my backpack for use while hiking or going on longer journeys. Nature journaling can become a way of life, one that will enrich your consciousness and soothe your soul.

Write about what you see, how you feel about what you see, the sounds, the scents, and everything else you perceive. Don't fret about writing the perfect description; instead, have fun putting words together in odd ways to fully express what you're experiencing in nature. Like with any form of writing, when nature writing, discard the inner editor and let your playful inner child create the first draft.

Your notebook can be a rich source of impressive descriptive writing. As it is written on the spot, it will be much more expressive and meaningful than something written that night when you're back home with your computer.

Years or months later you may refer back to your nature journaling experiences and find passages worthy of sharing with the world. As you revisit them, you'll once again see the sights, experience the feelings, and revel in the joy of being in that place or with that plant or creature.

Know the subject of your nature writing - it really matters!

3. Get up close and personal

While you're there, look closely at your subject whether it's a goldfish, redwood tree, or mountain. Walk right up to it. Feel it. Put your arms around that tree, dig in that dirt, move some rocks around, put your face down close to the pond and try to create a relationship with the goldfish.

What specific characteristics appeal to you? As you observe your subject think about what pulls at your heart. What excites you about your subject? Write about what you find most intriguing.

Write about nature enthusiastically so the joy of your discovery is reflected in the words you share. That's done by getting excited about nature! Don't just dryly recite a few facts. No! You must love nature, and then your nature writing will have real impact.

Your readers look to you for details, so while you're out in nature become intimate with every aspect of your subject. The closer you get to nature, the more you'll notice and write about.

Writers need active imaginations

4. Get your imagination in gear

While you're experiencing nature, imagine what might happen next, or imagine a scenario that might have happened in the past. Write that the river has a history - dark knights boating downstream to a certain defeat, or wild birds nesting there for centuries of peace without human contact.

Envision the feeling of the place in scenarios of your own choosing. Do you feel you're in the perfect place for a UFO landing? Does it look like Bigfoot might be hiding in the woods?

Metaphoric ramblings may work to express to your readers what you're really feeling about where you're at. Use your imagination to further describe the vibrations you sense while in the moment. Do you sense danger? ...ephemeral nothingness? Write it all down.

Meditation can help deepen your nature writing experience

5. Meditate

While you're experiencing and writing about nature, take time to meditate enough to get in touch with your deepest feelings. How can you really know about nature -- how can you write and express something unique that you've found there -- unless you're aware of what's happening in your emotional and spiritual bodies?

Close your eyes, still your mind, and look between the experiences for what's most real to you. Then write about those feelings in relation to what's going on. Know your most important issues and express them in the piece you're developing. Your nature writing will take on a specialized focus, and you can build on that theme.

Castle Crags as seen from Mt. Shasta

Castle Crags
Castle Crags | Source

Your comments are welcome!

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    • profile image

      Rae Karen Hauck 

      4 years ago


      Thanks so much for the added inspiration. I love nature and have learned some timely lessons by paying attention to that wonderful world around me. Great tips for writing on my favorite subject.

      Many blessings,

      Rae Karen Hauck

    • LindaJM profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Jo Martin 

      4 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

      I was on Mt. Rainier once, but barely remember it. I was about three or four at the time. When I get another car, I can visit again. I live not far from there now.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      If I were to choose a particular niche, it would be nature. I've written about Mt. Rainier and my lifetime on her slopes, and about the joys of the natural world. Great tips here my new friend.

    • Suhail and my dog profile image

      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 

      5 years ago from Mississauga, ON


      I write almost always on nature and your tips are very helpful. All I need to do is improve my photography skills.

      Thank you for sharing this article. Voted up!

    • chef-de-jour profile image

      Andrew Spacey 

      6 years ago from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK

      Great tips. This hub is an incentive itself to get out and about in the wilds and observe! Recommended. There is nothing to compare with direct experience of nature - you see new and unusual things sometimes and you tend to remember them if you make notes 'on the spot'.

      Votes and a share.

    • DE Chandler profile image

      DE Chandler 

      7 years ago from Oklahoma

      These are all great tips. I love being in nature, and hope to do a lot of writing in the near future. I'm out there a lot, so I'll be taking my notebook and camera even more often now. Thank you!

    • viveresperando profile image


      8 years ago from A Place Where Nothing Is Real

      voted useful and bookmarked! great hub!

    • triciajean profile image

      Patricia Lapidus 

      8 years ago from Bantam, CT

      Thank you, Linda. I'm going to start taking a notebook with me, along with the camera, when I hike.

    • DrumsAcousticMuse profile image

      Jesse Broman 

      8 years ago from Los Angeles

      Great writing and loved the pictures! Outdoor meditation has always been my favorite nature- largely because im a highly aural person.

      every new place i go, i enjoy mapping out its sonic landscape through quiet, inwardly focused trance.

    • daybreak profile image


      8 years ago from Atlantic Coast of North America

      I could not agree more. I try to make field trips several times a week. Even a 30 minute walk can inspire several pages of valuable content.

      I like to combine short trips with follow-up research and then write content as a result. My golden rule is to NEVER leave home without a camera and fully charged batteries.

      As Linda mentioned, I also like to carry a journal or have one in my vehicle to make notes while my observations are still fresh in my mind.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Yes, whatever works. I use photography as my meditative tool and all of these tips apply to photography in nature too. These tips for writing about nature are perfect, Linda.

    • LindaJM profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Jo Martin 

      8 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

      Whatever works! I recommended being in nature while writing because whenever I do it, my descriptions of what I'm writing about are far better than anything I could do without being in the experience.

    • WannaB Writer profile image

      Barbara Radisavljevic 

      8 years ago from Templeton, CA

      Thanks for the hints. So far I've not written much about nature because I don't get out in it as much as I'd like. I tend to take my video camera instead of a notebook to remind me and have a visual record, and usually I'm walking and it's harder to stop and write.


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