Gathering research – the tonic of the wilderness

Its well worth the effort to take time to research elements you want to explore within your own story. I read recently that one writer took a year to research everything he needed before even putting pen to paper.  Even fantasy-type stories such as mine explore certain themes which have been a pleasure to learn about for my own knowledge as well as to boost the creation process itself and give it new, fresh angles.

One subject I have been looking into for the first part of my story is the ‘tonic of the wilderness’ which is ‘forest bathing‘. Forest bathing for those who haven’t heard of this practice is essentially being in the presence of trees which can reportedly lower heart rate, blood pressure, stress and boost the immune system.

I first came across this concept after reading the Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield years ago – this remains one of the best books I have ever read. The piece that stuck with me was the restorative energy released by plants/trees and how we can benefit from it and how all living beings are all connected through energy.

As kids my Dad would take us with the dog into the local woods and we would climb trees and mess about, truly enjoying the surroundings – some part of the fascination of the forest being the fear of it too…nothing is as daunting as a forest at night.

Luckily I have been able to conduct my forest bathing research in the beautiful Westonbirt Arboretum which is pretty local to me.   I take my daughter and we walk off into endless trails, both enjoying it in the peace and quiet,  surrounded by calm.   Both of us enjoy this, she is learning about nature, which animals live in the forest and most importantly how to respect the environment.

Spending so much time at Westonbirt has given me time to think, brought different elements and angles to my story as well as an important forest scene in my story.  Its also made me pull in the reigns with writing ‘in a rampage’ and rather taking my time to interrogate each scene and then each ‘quarter’ as I write.  Dividing up each episode into quarters has helped me so much with focus. I feel I am wasting less pages, text and dialogue!

Do yourself a favour, switch your phone off and go and listen to the silence, I can’t recommend it more!

“Feel it surround you, penetrate throughout you.. your being, inside, your soul…you..” Dr Albert ‘Bertie’ Chan, SPRING


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