Anyone else feel as if they’ve aged a decade in the past year? (Make mine a century.) The continual stream of bad news, the need to doom-scroll Twitter to keep up with the latest dumpster fires, the constant refreshing of reliable information feeds has taken a toll. Not just on my hair (gray), my once-healthy diet (now composed of sugar and other substances), but also on my ability to read, relax, and refill my creative well.
To add insult to injury, so many of the activities we as writers depend upon to inspire us are out of reach these days – the excitement of travel, the quiet stimulation of long afternoons at local museums, the interesting nights out with friends at cultural events.
Yet as creative beings, our brains need a regular diet of varied, high-quality fare, a chance to allow new ideas to percolate and ferment, then combine in unexpected ways. I’ve realized my mental intake over the past year has been less like kale and cabernet and more like chicken nuggets and diet soda.
So I’ve vowed to get back on track. I’ve limited my time online, taken myself outside for long walks in nature, called friends. And I’ve subscribed to a variety of fun and interesting email newsletters. I may not be able to travel right now, but I can read about beautiful places. I can learn about history, about art, about science and language and so many more subjects, all without leaving home.
These short bites are often just what I need to stimulate my curiosity and give my brain a jolt of creativity. Here, in no particular order, are my favorites. Some are supported by ad revenue, some have more comprehensive versions available for a fee, but all are fun and free. (And of course, I receive no compensation for listing them here.)