On the Virtues of Beautiful Places

A carpet of narcissi & tulipsI hope you will not mistake me for one of those people who feels that it’s always necessary to surround yourself with beauty and inspiration if you want to produce a high-quality work. I’ve composed poetry in front of an industrial sink and written novels in crowded airports. However, I’ll readily admit that going or being someplace beautiful – or better yet, making someplace beautiful – is a good idea if you like to devote yourself to creative endeavors.

The most important thing about beautiful places is that they encourage us to relax, to let our minds wander, and to forget about the things we’re worrying about. We all need to do this, especially when we’re trying to compose a piece of writing. Drafting a story or novel is a stressful, tiring task, and there’s a lot to be said for going on a break now and then and taking a walk in a nearby park. Taking some time to briefly distance yourself from your work – even if you only go upstairs to make some coffee – is a good way to relax, refresh, and reorganize before delving back into it.

Just as they help us distract ourselves when we need it, beautiful places can also help us focus on our own sense of what is beautiful. This is a very important understanding for a writer to have, as it will guide many of your creative choices and contribute to the higher themes of your narratives. I’ve always found it worthwhile to take a few moments and write about what makes your favorite place beautiful. Different people find beauty in different areas for different reasons, and the simple task of articulating these reasons can be a truly inspiring task.

Whether it’s the quiet of a mountainside or the cheerful bustle of a city park, almost all writers and artists find it helpful to spend some time in a beautiful place. You can use them to relax, to contemplate, or to find inspiration for your work – and they make bad places to sit down for a picnic, either.