N is for all that you notice-- birds, skies, leaves, life. So much more than what can be discovered inside your own four walls.
A is for the aromas you encounter as you travel down a well-worn path-- the smoke from fires, a stalk of rosemary, the fresh-cut grass. Your senses awaken and so does your writing.
T is for timelessness. The eternal is so much more acute outside than it is inside. We feel a sense of fitting into a much bigger picture, and we know that our writing helps us make a mark beyond the little space our lives inhabit.
U is for unique vantage point. Somehow that difficult scene, that stubborn character, those impossible edits slide into perspective when we watch a squirrel scurry up the side of a tree, a hawk perch on a tree branch, eyeing us from on high with his look of pity. Our writing quandaries matter less when we're outside, away from the things that seemed huge moments ago. Sometimes-- the best times-- we stumble upon the answers to those writing problems even as we stumble upon a fern unfolding from its tight curl, a rock glinting with mica, a caterpillar making its way across a leaf.
R is for restore. Getting outside and breathing in the fresh air restores our outlook and makes us happier. We can come back to our manuscript with a new sense of purpose and sometimes a new take on something that moments before felt impossible.
E is for the earth God created. Since He is the Creator and we were made in His image, we can take heart that this means we carry that same impulse to create. It's part of our DNA. As creative beings, we can draw energy from the vastness and detail of His creation. Then we can venture home, sit back down and start creating again, taking delight in what it means to make something from nothing, to be part of a miracle of our own making.
Marybeth Whalen and her husband Curt have six children ranging in age from 18 to 5. She writes novels in her "spare" time. Her first novel, The Mailbox was published in June of 2010 and her next novel, She Makes It Look Easy, comes out in June of this year. She can be found at http://www.marybethwhalen.com/ where she writes a daily blog called "Cheaper By The Half Dozen."