3 Incredible Lessons Whales Can Teach Writers

Humpback whales are magnificent creatures. They grow to about 52 feet long and weigh almost 50 tons, the males sing hauntingly beautiful songs, and humpbacks are acrobatic as they can leap high from the water’s surface, roll in the air, and then dive to 1,000 feet.

But the incredible thing I learned about humpbacks is this; their entire lives are filled with only three activities: feeding, breeding, and migrating.  That’s it.  Three activities for an entire lifetime.

So what can writers learn from this amazing fact? Here’s one way we can adapt the three activities to the writing craft:

What Writers Can Learn From Whales by Victoria M. Johnson


Feed your soul.  Take care of yourself.  It’s important for writers to feed your creative spirit.  Exploring helps.  You can explore the world or your own hometown.  Try new things, go to new places, eat new foods, and read new books. Expose yourself to other art forms and cultural experiences.  All this discovering is feeding your creative being.  But you need down time, too.  Take time to meditate.


I view this as your production of work.  Whatever it is you specialize in–be it poetry, short stories, novels, or nonfiction–breed new writing.  Writing begets writing.  I think writers are happiest when they are creating.  I know I am.  For success and longevity as a writer, you need to produce new finished material.  Finished, not sitting in a drawer, but out in the marketplace or getting read by your editor or agent.


Move about.  Don’t stand still.  For writers this can represent getting out of a rut, if you feel like you’re in one; or trying something different, for example adding your short story to an anthology with other good writers.  These activities aren’t meant to take you away from your main novel or poetry writing projects, but are meant to explore other ways of reaching your readers or reaching new readers, or perhaps taking advantage of an opportunity that presents itself.  We are on a writer’s journey, are we not?  That suggests we’re meant to keep moving.

Three Activities

All three activities are essential to the humpback whale’s existence. I think they’re essential to the well being of us writers, too.