Need help submitting your writing to literary journals or book publishers/literary agents? Click here! →

En Plein Air: Could This Painting Technique Work For Your Writing? | Writer’s Relief

Summertime offers the best opportunities for writing en plein air— a French phrase for “the act of painting outdoors.” Just as artists lug their equipment to meadows, lakes, and parks instead of painting in a studio, Writer’s Relief recommends that you head outdoors to write! You may enjoy some serious benefits by putting this painting technique to work for your writing.

“All pictures painted inside in the studio will never be as good as the things done outside.” — Paul Cézanne

5 Surprising Benefits of Writing En Plein Air

Distractions are eliminated. It’s easy to get sidetracked when you’re writing from home. With family, pets, phone calls, chores, and social media, it’s hard to stay on track and focused. If you’re sitting on a bench by a babbling brook, there may be distractions there as well—but who minds the chirping of birds or a butterfly fluttering by?

Senses become engaged. Being outdoors involves the senses in a way that writing indoors can’t quite match. You may feel the wind on your face or the pebbles under your feet; hear the screech of a hawk or the sound of children laughing in the park; and gaze at the ocean, the trees, or a local fountain. Take these sensations and let them inspire your writing!

Thoughts are clearer. By taking the time to walk or hike or drive to a quiet space in nature, it’s easier to become immersed in your thoughts, the scenery, and your work. You didn’t come all this way to think about unloading the dishwasher!

Writer’s block is broken. Smart writers know that to reignite their creative fire or combat a serious case of writer’s block, switching up their routine can help. What better change of scenery than a dose of writing, brainstorming, or freewriting en plein air?

Inspiration can strike. While a painter may choose a particular spot in nature in order to paint that scene, writers aren’t limited to writing about what they’re seeing from the dock or the top of a mountain. Inspiration and creative energy can be found by simply being outside your typical writing environment and comfort zone.

“When painting and sketching en plein air, I sink into the landscape, an attuned witness to its mood and beauty.” — Dianne Bersea

Thinking of trying this painting technique in your writing? Then turn off your phone, leave your laptop at home, and pack pens and notepads instead. (Plus you won’t be tempted to check Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram every ten minutes!) It doesn’t matter where you go…as long as you’re outdoors, bathing in natural light, and breathing fresh air. Of course, a nearby park might be better than an outdoor café on a busy city street—but to each his (or her) own!

Writing en plein air doesn’t work for everyone, of course, and you may prefer working from your temperature-controlled, allergy-free office over being sunburned or having your pages blown about by a gusty wind. Here are some tips for creating a writing sanctuary…indoors!


Question: Where is your favorite place to write outdoors?



7 Fun And Useful Must-Have Apps For Writers | Writer’s Relief

Writers, whether you’re a technology nerd or you prefer a good old-fashioned notebook, the Internet offers plenty of writing tools and applications to make your life easier. Writer’s Relief has checked out seven great apps that are perfect for writers—and most of them are free! The Best Apps For Writers Agent Obvious: Wouldn’t it be… Continue Reading

Is It Harder For Women To Succeed In Certain Literary Genres? | Writer’s Relief

For some women writers, trying to get published in certain genres feels like trying to break into a “boy’s only” club. Writer’s Relief shares a recent Huffiington Post article where three women writers in traditionally male-dominated genres (sci-fi, street lit, and mysteries) give their perspectives on genre and gender divides: You’ve probably read the stats:… Continue Reading

Tips From Movies For Writing A Villain Readers Love To Hate | Writer’s Relief

At Writer’s Relief, we’ve been asked: What makes a great villain? Is it diabolical cunning…dastardly deeds…a tragic backstory? Villains who are just as multifaceted and complex as heroes can be extremely memorable characters. A great place to find inspiration is on the big screen, where villains can be larger than life. Here are a few… Continue Reading

Learn More
Live Chat Software


This page was chock-full of great info...
and there's so much more here to help you meet your publishing goals!

Be sure to sign up for our FREE guides as you enter each site.

For advice, marketing ideas, and step-by-step guidance through the self-publishing process!

Featuring smart ways to boost your online presence, build your author website, or improve your existing website.

For everything you need to know about writing, preparing, and targeting submissions to literary agents and editors!