12 Nature-Inspired Creative Writing Prompts
by Melissa Donovan | Feb 20, 2018 | Creative Writing Prompts | 14 comments
Nature inspires, and so do these creative writing prompts.
Today’s post includes a selection of prompts from my book, 1200 Creative Writing Prompts . Enjoy!
Creative writing prompts are excellent tools for writers who are feeling uninspired or who simply want to tackle a new writing challenge. Today’s creative writing prompts focus on nature.
For centuries, writers have been composing poems that celebrate nature, stories that explore it, and essays that analyze it.
Nature is a huge source of inspiration for all creative people. You can find it heavily featured in film, television, art, and music.
Creative Writing Prompts
You can use these creative writing prompts in any way you choose. Sketch a scene, write a poem, draft a story, or compose an essay. The purpose of these prompts is to inspire you, so take the images they bring to your mind and run with them. And have fun!
- A young girl and her mother walk to the edge of a field, kneel down in the grass, and plant a tree.
- The protagonist wakes up in a seemingly endless field of wildflowers in full bloom with no idea how he or she got there.
- Write a piece using the following image: a smashed flower on the sidewalk.
- A family of five from a large, urban city decides to spend their one-week vacation camping.
- An elderly couple traveling through the desert spend an evening stargazing and sharing memories of their lives.
- A woman is working in her garden when she discovers an unusual egg.
- Write a piece using the following image: a clearing deep in the woods where sunlight filters through the overhead lattice of tree leaves.
- Some people are hiking in the woods when they are suddenly surrounded by hundreds of butterflies.
- A person who lives in a metropolitan apartment connects with nature through the birds that come to the window.
- Write a piece using the following image: an owl soaring through the night sky.
- A well-to-do family from the city that has lost all their wealth except an old, run-down farmhouse in the country. They are forced to move into it and learn to live humbly.
- Two adolescents, a sister and brother, are visiting their relatives’ farm and witness a sow giving birth.
Again, you can use these creative writing prompts to write anything at — poems, stories, songs, essays, blog posts, or just sit down and start freewriting.
lovely prompts… really simple line or two that just strikes up imagery and let you freestyle all over it. Nice one
thanks for the good ideas good short story for someone in grade 8
Thanks. I just read through your list of prompts and got flashes of either beginnings or endings for stories from every one. I’ve not seen prmopts like these much on the web, so well done. Such a simple idea with so much power and potential. If only I had the day off to get cracking!
I love to create and use writing prompts, and I’m glad you found these to be useful. Thanks!
Hello. Supernatural or magic realism is pretty much all I write. I’ve got a prompt. ‘A young teenager is walking home during a storm and ends up getting struck by lightning. The next day they wake up to find that the accident turned them into an inhuman being.’ I’ve heard of this type of scenario before and I thought it would make for a great story. I love creating my own ideas of course but writing prompts are just fun challenge myself with and see what I can create out of already given ideas. I really like the prompts you give. As I said they are enjoyable to mess around with.
Thanks for sharing your prompt, Kristen. I agree that prompts are fun and can be challenging. I’m glad you like these. Keep writing!
#7 Woodland Clearing
Winter trees screen blue and sunny skies, Intense but icy light the heat belies. Spikey, naked, dormant maids and men Wait for the earth to turn around again.
And bring the warmth that touches every thread Of bark and twigs and all that acted dead Until the full-blown leaves create a wall Shortening the view until late fall
When sun and clouds break through the limbs again And show clear-cut those lacey maids and men Black for a time against the coldest air While waiting for the Spring to deck them fair
With leaves that seem to turn the world to green Creating hidden meadows only seen By animals and birds and mist and rains. For ages before calendars and trains.
Humanity intrudes in such a place And fools themselves that they have found a space Where they belong beneath the patchy light To rip and tear and exercise their might.
For meadow edges have no need to stand Between the woods and grassy, open land Where bugs and bears and buntings feel the sun. ‘Till people think they do what must be done.
April 27, 2019
Hi Jennifa. Thanks for sharing your lovely poem here.
That is a stunningly good poem, Jennifa. Far more worthy than just an obscure comment thread here. I hope you found a home for it where more eyes will see it. If you are published anywhere, I’d love to find out.
Wow. These are truly amazing prompts! Just a few lines of inspiration and now my mind is filled with creativity. Please come up with more! <3
You’ll find plenty more in the Writing Prompts Writing Prompts section of the Blog menu.
these are really helpful
Thanks, Flo! I’m glad you found them helpful.
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19,885 quotes, descriptions and writing prompts, 4,964 themes
nature - quotes and descriptions to inspire creative writing
- air quality
- animals in the forest
- beauty of nature quotes
- broken world
- conservation pennies
- demonetized world
- fixing broken worlds
- genetic variation
- heal the world
- industrialised developed world
- kelp forest
- nature's ally
- quotes of nature
- save creation
- sustainable online shopping
- the green man
- upside down world
- world peace
Nature was my cocoon before my birth and wings beneath my wings ever after.
Nature clothes both land and soul - for she is home, hearth and sustenance for all of creation's kin.
Nature is our gold, for it echos with the golden light of the soul and into eternity.
It's not that I like nature, it's that I'm in love with it. I love the mountains, the snow, the trees and the animals. To imagine this world destroyed is to leave my soul without breath
When I am most awake, most present in the moment, every sense of nature converges into a single energetic joy. It is as if there is a feeling passing between each living thing, a bond that is tangible and blended, a melody beyond the range of ears but available for the heart. And so, as the each leaf moves in the wind, a part of me does also. It is the togetherness of what is separate, the glue in the universe.
This world is quite astonishing, when you claw your way out of the mire of dysfunction. When you first peek over the horizon and see nature without the haze of discontent. Without any filter, with the naked eye and the brain open to the beauty of this reality, amazement comes. It is the amazement of the baby when they first meet a dog, or see a leaf move in the wind. And when you see those simple things, when you can in love with the small, everything gets so much better. The larger things become almost overwhelming, the sense of love so much stronger. It is then you realise that before you lived a half-life, greyed and without the warmth each human is born with.
Why spin straw into gold when it already is that shade of the sun? Why take something warm and make it so cold? If this is alchemy, then you can keep those cold palaces for your cold ego, to house those bones that lost their soul. The sun spun this straw from mud and rain, grew a seed into a fine strand of such beauty. And so you see, blind wizard, nature is my alchemy.
To the animals, to all of our relatives, to the ones we are so blessed to share our planet with, we give you our hearts for always. We vow to clean your habitats and remake what we have broken or poisoned, for in those actions we poison ourselves and our own hearts. We're sorry, and we're coming back to be a part of the natural world, us and our technology.
In this light that paints my skin so warmly, the trees are dancing ladies, each in dresses more fabulous than any designer can craft. They move, choreographed by the wind, in perfect time with one another. They are the life and soul of this early summer morning, and I wonder how many hues of green my eyes are witnessing. As they stretch upwards and outwards toward the light, drinking in rays as pure as the rain, I stretch my arms up too, fingers spread toward the sun and slowly begin to dance.
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- Get gardening
An introduction to nature writing
On this page:
^ back to the top, 1. benefits for you, 2. why nature writing is good for your health, 3. finding sources of inspiration, 4. ekphrastic writing activity, 5. nature writing activity inspired by the soil, 6. roshni beeharry biography, benefits for you.
- Spending time in nature can make us feel refreshed and reduce stress
- As you gather inspiration, you can enjoy gardens and nature at a sensory level, no matter your knowledge of gardening
- Nature writing provides the opportunity for unrestricted creativity. You could write a poem, a short story or plan a longer piece of work
Why nature writing is good for your health
A person doing nature based writing in a notebook
By roshni beeharry.
The health benefits of being in nature and interacting with it are manifold. In the UK and further afield, gardening and forest therapy is sometimes recommended by healthcare professionals via social prescribing.
Being in nature is a well-established and powerful way to improve our wellbeing. This is partly through the much-needed chance to stop, take some time to rest and restore our energy from the demands of life and work.
Being outdoors, whether it is in your garden, local park or in a forest or in another landscape, is a great way to engage your senses. You can explore through sight, smell, texture, including the feel of the ground, grass or soil underfoot, plus what you can feel in your hands.
Nature writing, or writing inspired by the natural world, also allows us to engage all our senses. It offers the chance to hone our observation skills by engaging in the mindful practice of observing, smelling, feeling and sensing what is around us.
Many poets such as John Keats or Emily Dickinson, use nature as a basis of their writing. It is one of my favourite modes of writing inspiration.
It is also possible to write about nature by taking inspiration from representations of nature in art, such as visual arts, poetry, prose (fiction and nonfiction) as well as music and film.
My relationship with nature
I am passionate about nature. When I am under stress my go-to place is to get outdoors- as long as it has trees and greenery! Not only is this essential and highly therapeutic for my wellbeing, but it also inspires much of my writing, both poetry and prose (fiction and creative non-fiction).
I am very lucky to have grown up with a garden and even luckier to live back in the house I grew up in. Although with a seemingly endlessly long garden come the challenges of maintenance (not least the chores of weeding and grass cutting!), there is always something new popping up, even if it is a clump of weeds or some wildflowers. I often joke that the only surprises I like are those that nature offers. Seeing what pops up in the garden or my local park as time passes is really pleasurable.
Here is a poem I wrote with my garden at the heart of it:
Holds many memories,
Of children’s parties
Of cricket games
With my brother;
Of fruit trees blossoming
And bearing fruit,
Year after year.
The wishing well
Once it was filled with seashells,
Souvenirs of holidays on the beach. Now it is empty,
The conifers line the fence,
Give shade against
The blazing sun.
Butterflies and bees
Cross paths in flight
But never collide. The poppies behind me
Are tightly shirt now,
Clasping their secrets. I will have to wait until
To gaze upon their
Pretty pink faces.
Poem copyright of Roshni Beeharry, Highly Commended in Enfield Music and Drama Festival, 2000 and published in The Enfield Writers Workshop anthology 2001.
Nature is beautiful to look at and to immerse oneself in. It has been shown to have many health benefits. The ancient Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku or forest bathing, is based on the healing aspects of immersing oneself in nature (not limited to forests).
Finding sources of inspiration
A window box can be a source of nature writing inspiration
All sorts of types of nature can provide inspiration for nature writing. Parks and local green areas, an allotment, even a window box.
If you do not have easy access to an outdoor space for any reason, there is a wealth of online sources of nature inspiration. For example:
- The Natural History Museum, London website. Thoroughly recommended! This gives free access to some of the exhibitions and access to international nature landscapes
- National Geographic
- YouTube videos of bird song and sounds of nature, These can be very therapeutic as well as offering inspiration
You could also use photos you may have taken of landscapes on holiday or on travels as a stimulus.
Ekphrastic writing activity
One type of creative writing is ekphrastic writing . This is a vivid, often dramatic, description of a visual work of art, including painting, sculpture and music. The word ekphrasis comes from the Greek for the written description of a work of art produced as a rhetorical or literary exercise.
Here are two photos I have taken of my local country park, where I love to spend time, especially when life is frenetic!
Have a go at using one or both of these to write, using the suggested prompts.
Image of sunrise over a field with a variety of clouds, image by author
- What emotions do you feel when you look at this sky?
- Where are you in this picture? Are you sitting or standing? Are you alone or with someone?
- What does the temperature of the air feel like on your skin? What does the air smell like?
- What colours can you see?
Photo of sheep grazing in a field with trees, image by author
Use the same writing prompts as outlined above, but this time try writing from the viewpoint of one or more of the sheep!
- What is it thinking?
- What sort of conversation would the sheep be having together?
- Now imagine the farmer or landowner steps into the scene. What is he doing? What is he thinking? How do the sheep react?
Have fun with this piece of writing!
Once you have created one, or two, pieces of writing, congratulations! You have just written an ekphrastic piece of writing.
Nature writing activity inspired by the soil
Cupped hands full of soil
Here is a great way to get stuck in(to) the mud!
When you are gardening, be it weeding, planting bulbs, in the allotment harvesting or just potting a plant, think about and write afterwards how it feels to explore the soil with your senses.
You may normally wear gardening gloves, but if conditions and your health allows (some people may need to avoid the organisms in soil due to impaired immune systems), take your gloves off for this exercise.
You may wish to make notes on paper as you do each stage or use a Dictaphone or voice recording on your mobile or other device to capture your thoughts at each stage. Add in any illustrations to your notes if you wish and like to sketch.
At each stage, make notes/record your experiences. Do this where you are. Do not rush this experience. The notes do not have to be coherent. They can be a list of words, phrases, sentences, a poem, sketches - see what comes. I often find I doodle more when words don’t quite come, or as an accompaniment to poetry drafts or notes.
Some questions you may wish to ask yourself to stimulate your writing can include:
- What can you feel on your skin? What is the temperature?
- What is the texture of the earth-are there stones in it? Worms or other small creatures?
- Is the soil moist from rainfall or dry due to lack of rain?
- How does the soil smell?
- Are there any snails or worms or other creatures that you can see?
If you cannot use your hands easily, then use your forearm, elbow or an unsocked foot (this may be less easy to do). Do only what you feel comfortable to do and what feels safe to do so hygiene- wise. Be mindful to wash and dry hands / feet thoroughly afterwards.
Go through these stages:
- First, stroke your fingers (or toes) lightly in the soil as if you are swirling water in a bath to mix bath foam. Just do this on the top surface. Do this for as long as you wish, but for at least 3 minutes.
- Now, start to dig your fingers into the soil; just a few centimetres below the surface. Think about the emotions you are experiencing as you ‘dig deeper’. How does your body feel? Shift position if you need to.
- Now, scoop up some soil in your fingers. Raise your hand a few inches if you can, then let the soil drop from your fingers. Experiment with holding the soil in your palm and letting it fall from a clasped palm, an open hand tipped, your fingertips.
- Watch the soil fall. Does it fall in clumps, or is it dust-like? Are there stones? What can you hear? In your writing, you could introduce some poetic devices such as simile and metaphors, by considering what the falling soil reminds you of anything you can compare it to? Note down some similes and metaphors e.g the soil falls like dust from an ancient undisturbed box
- Hold the soil to your nose. What is the smell? Think of some words and jot them down e.g. earthy, light, heavy, pungent
Now close your eyes and repeat all of the above stages without the sensory input of vision. What impact does this have on the texture, temperature, smell, weight of the soil? What emotions do you feel when you cannot see what you are doing? How does your body feel? Shift position if you need to.
Digging for gold
Now, go over your notes again. Use phrases and words to create a piece of memoir, a short story or a poem.
List poems can be satisfying introductions to writing poems. For example, you may wish to fill in the gaps below using what you experienced above to create a list poem. This can encourage you to create some metaphors and similes and other imagery:
In my hands, I hold the earth and feel …
In my hands, I hold the earth and smell …..
In my hands, I hold the earth and sense ….
In my hands, I hold the earth and feel the weight of….
In my hands, I hold… it feels like…..it smells of/like
Play around with different ways of starting your list poem.
For inspiration, have a look at the link to the poem Digging by Irish poet, Seamus Heaney. He is writing about writing, but with the metaphors and language of the land and relating to memories of his father and boyhood.
Once you finished your work, read it back to yourself and be proud of what you have created. You may want to share it with others!
Inspiration is everywhere outside. It can encourage you to be mindful and look inwards, something we hardly have time to do in our fast paced lives. Welsh poet W.H. Davies (1871-1940) puts it well in his oft-quoted poem, Leisure .
Roshni Beeharry biography
Dr Roshni Beeharry is a poet, short fiction writer, Medical Educator, former hospital doctor and Writing for Wellbeing Facilitator. In 2005, Roshni qualified on the seminal MA in Creative Writing & Personal Development, Sussex University, at the time the only degree of its kind in the UK, with the aim of using therapeutic writing with patients and the community. In October 2020, Roshni set up Storied Selves to provide writing for wellbeing and personal development workshops for those in healthcare and other care professionalism, as well as for the public, including an in person Nature writing workshop at Keats House museum and gardens in July 2019 and online since then.
Roshni has published internationally in print and online, in Litro, Writers’ Magazine, Atrium Press, Kind of a Hurricane Press, Wombwell Rainbow, Paragraph Planet, Tendon literary journal, These are the Hands: Poems from the Heart of the NHS anthology, Medical Woman and Writing in Practice journals. She was longlisted for the Aeon Prize 2012, highly commended in the Hippocrates Prize for Poetry & Medicine 2015, a finalist in Cuirt Literary Festival Spoken Word competition 2018 and longlisted for her young adult fiction in Northern Gravy in 2022.
LinkedIn: Roshi Beeharry
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Free Creative Writing Prompts #18: Nature
We need to slow down as a species. We will often spend hours and countless units of energy amping ourselves up to go a million miles an hour. We drive fast and we run fast. This kind of activity really does take a toll on the body and the mind, however, and it's starting to really show in our adult-onset illnesses. One way to avoid this fate? Get back to nature! Relax in the amazing natural locations that you can find probably less than a few minutes away from your sheltered technological world. A little meditation next to a stream and a bit of lounging by the ocean is nearly a necessity to make it healthily through your life. These free creative writing prompts on nature can truly help you keep that concept in mind while giving you a chance to draw from your past (and future) experiences to create some great writing. Enjoy! Free Creative Writing Prompts: Nature
1. Describe the most intimate experience you've ever had with nature. Try to remember a time in which you were truly affected by the natural world and it became a major part of who you are. If that's never happened, make it up.
2. One day, all plant life and animals just plain started to talk to you. They talk to a few other people too, so it's not like you're crazy. What do they tell you and what do you do about it?
3. You wake up one day as a frog on a lily pad. What do you do and how do you get back to your human form? Is this a Disney fairy tale or a Grimm's fairy tale? :)
4. What is your personal plan to preserve nature in your community? Even if you only spend 5 minutes a day each week, what is it you plan to do with that time? Do you even want to preserve nature?
5. Talk about a big hike or nature trail walk that you've been on. If you never have, make it up. Who were you with, what did you bring, and why do you remember it so well?
6. If you had a choice of any natural landscape to live on the planet and money was not an issue, where would you live? What would your first year their be like?
7. What is your favorite season and why? What memories have occurred during that season for you? Go into extreme detail on what you like about that season and mention what it is you don't like about the other ones.
8. Your favorite natural area is about to be changed into a shopping mall (I know, the plot of like every movie). What do you do to stop it and how do you get the community on your side?
9. In a horror-movie type setting, nature fights back (and I'm not talking about the M. Night Shyamalan movie "The Happening"). You are stuck in the middle of a forest at night. How do you get out of this predicament and back into civilization?
10. For some reason, as if you were a Disney princess, animals of the forest begin to come out of nowhere to help you through your life. What do you do with this newfound power? Be a part of nature while you're writing these prompts. Go out to a field or sit out on your porch and watch the rain come down. It's not a necessity, but you might as well get your natural relaxation in and complete some writing at the same exact time. Two birds with one tasty piece of bread :). Thank you for writing from these nature free creative writing prompts. Use the space below to complete any of them you wish! Bonus Prompt - You can grow the garden of your choice without money or time as a hindrance. What do you grow and why? How do you keep out the rabbits? :)
Related Articles Free Creative Writing Prompts from the Heart, Part 1 Free Creative Writing Prompts #2: Love Creative Writing Exercises #2: Relaxation
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- Module description
Writing Nature: Ecology, Place, Memoir (Creative Writing) (EASM156)
Writing about nature, ecology and place has flourished over the past twenty or so years, both in prose non-fiction, fiction and in poetry. New Nature Writing often combines memoir with an attentive exploration of place that reveals new metaphors for the human/nature relationship. Sometimes these centre on the transformative effects of landscape activities like swimming, walking or hawking, or undertake cultural cartography and psychogeographical readings of sites.
Equally, during this period, writers have critiqued our anthropocentric attitudes towards the natural environment and sought to shift us towards a more sustainable sense of ‘species consciousness’ and to question the ideas that have informed our environmental exploitation of the planet.
By studying and writing poetry and/or nonfiction within this urgent and rapidly evolving ecological context, you will learn to identify and analyse techniques that will help you write your own complex and ethically-informed relationship to the natural world.
This module is suitable for non-specialist students with skills in creative writing.