If you know me, you know I like to be in seclusion . . . a lot.
And if you didn't know, well now you do. You're very welcome.
I like to close myself off and write in solitude.
The thing is, as a writer it may work, but who wants to be "just a writer" when you can be a "great writer"? Not me. And in order to become a better story teller I have to check out the outside world every now and then. I must engage with others in person. And I must see and take in my surroundings. How else would I know I'm making the right descriptions, conveying the right feelings, or doing my written world justice?
Sure, I can hide behind thoughts such as: "I can make it up" and "it doesn't have to be a real place or person" or "my CPs will guide me." But that would be a silly move. A really silly one. Besides, watching people can be fascinating. Especially if we know nothing about them. They offer diversity, excitement, and inspiration. Who doesn't see a couple maybe having an argument and trying to make up a story behind their actions and body language? Probably all writers do. We get a lot from their mannerisms, the expression in their eyes, and the tone of their voices even if we can't hear the words clearly. Don't believe me? Imagine a woman yelling and the man offering a soft whisper in return . . . sigh.
If you're anything like me, I ask you to visit the outdoors.
We can benefit from seeing and exploring different settings. Even a familiar place we go to all the time takes a whole new feel when we stop and really look. Let's pay attention. The way a waiter may sway while working, the mom crying when she receives a hug from her child, the dog sniffing for food on the street? These are all authentic, complex . . . and most importantly they're alive.
We want our writing to be alive.
Staying put is great when we're working these ideas into full stories, but to get unique situations its good to go out and explore. We need to connect with reality in order to make up our worlds. Otherwise we just end up writing the same characters with slight differences or same settings in different colors. Sure, we'd be a little more creative than that and not actually write the exact same things, but I'm going for dramatic right now, okay?
So what do you say?
I invite you to join me and go out and explore the outside world this year. Let's be more social, and while we're at it we might as well use our senses and take in all the details. Then later we can pour it all on the page.