Three amazing tips that will help you write stories about climate change

At the ​Sustainability and Impact Club of Tampere University, an important part of the course’s task was to choose a personal challenge related to sustainability and impact. In my case, I chose to write stories about climate change as a strategy to invest in my creativity skills, to get over the eco-anxiety and the stress and to imagine a positive future for humanity and for the more-than-human world.

In a previous post, I shared some arguments about why storytelling can be an important ally in the climate crisis. Stories ​ can be conceptualized ​ as a combination of three elements: ​ plot, character and moral​, and they can offer paths for change. They can be shared and created through music, dance, audiovisual means, and written pieces.

In summary, stories:
- Provide a context for climate change
- Debate moral values
- It is a call for change
- A chance to debate what change would that be
- Offers to switch the perspective
- Train empathy
- Experiment with different feelings
- It is arbitrary - as an author I can position myself against big narratives, either
apocalyptical ones, either denialists
Although I experienced a few creative blockages along the way, I found some tools both on the internet, and experimenting, that helped me put into paper the gigantic flow of ideas that were going in my mind.
In this blog post, I will walk you through some of those tips.

1. Take a small notebook and a pen with you everywhere you go

I know we are in the era of smartphones, but this tip was one of the most helpful for me. The climate crisis is everywhere, and sometimes you can have a nice idea of a story when you are on a bus, or before going to bed, or even watching television. It is important to keep notes, even if they seem silly, because in the future you can see them with other eyes and build stories on it.
And trust me: you are not going to remember that later.
With this challenge, I understood that writing stories is not a linear process, so it is not about saving the time to make it, but to be prepared for the unexpected.

2. Running out of ideas? You can orientate your writing process with online prompts and challenges

If you want to write stories just for the sake of practicing, or you would like to write something, but
needs an incentive to start, you can search for ideas online.
Sometimes it is very hard to think of what you are going to write about. To help with that, there are
many websites that offer prompts for free, that will give you some ideas for topics to write about.
You can even find websites with sustainability related prompts.
Here are some websites:
- Earth day prompts
- Environmental prompts

Also consider practicing general writing, even if it is not about the climate crisis exactly. It will definitely help you become a better writer.
- Creative writing prompts
- Weekly writing prompts

You could also search online writing contests and competitions to make it more challenging.

3. Write down everyday life conversations and happenings

During a previous creative writing course, a teacher recommended going somewhere and paying attention to the surroundings and to pay attention to what people were doing and talking about.
This exercise was very interesting, and I wrote challenging texts about that.
The fact that I am in Finland makes the language of conversations a bit more challenging. But then, if you pay attention to body signs, and if you use your imagination, language is not a barrier after all. Keep your ears and eyes open, and you might find surprising good stuff - even about climate change.

4. Be happy: writing should also be about having fun, and playing
with words

Many things can be achieved if you can release yourself from the pressure of expecting perfect outcomes. If you compromise yourself with the register of everyday life, soon you will be able to convert that into climate stories. Keep up the hope!

Raysa França (Feb. 2020)