Can outdoor writing really encourage more people to get outside?

As well as being a top Devon copywriter and one half of the outdoor duo Two Blondes Walking, I am an Ordnance Survey Get Outside Champion. I have been in this role for four years now and absolutely love it. It’s easy really when you love something and know that it does you good, to want to tell everybody else about that thing. For me ‘that thing’ is the outdoors and my favourite type of freelance writing is outdoor writing that has been specifically designed to encourage people to have a go at being outdoors themselves.

One question I have recently asking myself is exactly how successful outdoor writing can be at persuading people to go outdoors. I am inspired by a lot of what I read but so far this inspiration hasn’t resulted in me swimming the Channel, climbing Everest or saving the planet. Like most writers, I like to get my thoughts onto paper (or at least a laptop) so I have put together a few ideas about outdoor writing, persuasion and encouragement.

  1. It is important for outdoor writers to remember that they don’t have all the answers. Just because I find benefit from a freezing cold morning swim doesn’t mean that other people will.
  2. For some people, the outdoors can seem a scary place. Adrenaline-rush writing can exacerbate this, funny tales can help alleviate it. Before writing a piece of outdoor writing it is really important to consider both the hopes and the fears of its intended audience.
  3. Outdoor stories written in the first person can either sound really encouraging or really exclusive. Inclusive approaches that can be more encouraging include being honest about failures, giving practical next-step advice and delivering usable skills. You can possibly take this too far; I once wrote a blog post about Dartmoor almost entirely in emoji!
  4. One person’s stroll in the park is another person’s adventure. Outdoor writing needs to provide a healthy balance between early steps and things to which the reader can aspire.
  5. A writer should never overlook the persuasive power of a piece of outdoor writing. By suggesting that someone takes part in an activity or visits a location they should perhaps also be considering possible implications, whether these be for the reader or for the outdoor environment they are visiting.

I have been working with some really great outdoor writing clients this year and have plans to increase this particular element of my portfolio. The best thing about being an outdoor writer is of course that, if you want to do it properly, you have to get yourself outside first!

If you love the outdoors and love telling people how great it is, 2020 Get Outside Champion applications are open now!

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