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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Want Inspiration? Let's Go Outside!

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'm a happy introvert. I'm also friendly and can be a people's person when required. Heck, I even enjoy the human race from time to time . . . but in small doses. Crowds are "eh" to me. But hey, as a writer being a hermit works for me, ya know? 


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. 


17 comments:

  1. It takes life experiences to write.
    I hate going outside though. Every time I do, it's to do yard work.

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  2. I will join you outside- in the spring, lol! I don't mind the cold too much, actually, long as I'm bundled up. Especially if it's snowed, it's always so beautiful. I like getting out and going to social functions, but I'm always so ready to get back to the comfort of home.

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  3. Be like a child- see it all from fresh eyes. We get so used to the world around us, we forget how fascinating it is. I'm also a happy hermit. I like people and I like going out, but I don't think I have ever gotten cabin fever!

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  4. Can I wait until the snow and cold is gone before I go outside (unless necessary. I can't spend ALL of winter holed up. LOL)

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    1. Ugh, typos! What I meant to say was that I'm an indoor girl! And it's a tough habit to break--it's so much easier to stay inside with our thoughts, rather than interacting with the world!

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  6. Yes!!! And if you could close your eyes and say what your smelling and hearing and even feeling as far as the weather, your learning descriptions. Loved this!! And you.

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  7. yes! absolutely. I could be content to just make it all up, but with this new WIP I've been pushing myself to not just ask around but explore. I have a scene at Oheka castle (not far from me!) on Long Island, and I'm going to see if I can get a tour there sometime soon when I need to work on that scene. Nothing like real life exploring!

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  8. We are so the same on this 'outside' business. And like you, I reluctantly concede the benefits of venturing out in to the big wide-world. In Finding Esta the heroine's adventure begins in Cornwall and I took images from childhood memories, and from a couple of days stay in 2008. I love it there, and would love to go back to refresh those memories. I couldn't get the feeling right by looking it up through Google Earth - there are no noises, no smells, there's no interaction. I agree that whether we love it or not, writer's need to feed all the senses for the full impact to filter through onto the page.

    shahwharton.com

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  9. Great idea! I work from home, so it can be easy for me to go days without seeing people. However, I believe when I do go out, it's much more valuable than when I worked in an office, seeing the same people every day. The few times a week I venture out, I go to restaurants, the post office, the grocery store, and other places where I see a wide variety of people. You never know the types of people I'll encounter! I just need to spend more time watching them.

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  10. Like Stephanie, I work from home, so the most social interaction I had this week was taking my dog to the vet. But it's true, if I don't get out of the house and socialize I get stir crazy. And my writing suffers. We need life experiences to write, and being a shut in is great and all, but the only way I can write about people is by actually interacting with them. I wish more blog people lived closer... that would make for a fun trip to the bar.

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  11. I have become quite the hermit lately and this is a great reminder for me to get out and explore my world. As writers, we do tend to shut ourselves in and go to our creative place, but you're absolutely right—we need to observe and experience so our writing is authentic. Great post, S.K.!

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  12. A great suggestion, Katherine. You never know when you'll see something that will spark the next story idea. I came by to tell you I nominated you for an award. Please visit my blog: dhdunne.blogspot.com to find out more. Congratulations!

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  13. Actually, most of my writing happens in chaos--while kids are screaming in the background and I've got crazy deadlines and places to be and no time to really focus. Maybe I'm doing okay as far as that goes?

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  14. Outside it is! I can't be at the desk for too long or I grow moldy on the north side.

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  15. Yeah something me and my sister did a lot as kids would be to sit somewhere and people watch. We would comment on things they did that were funny or odd or relatable.

    I honestly feel this was the building blocks of me becoming an author.

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  16. True the out doors can open a persons mind.

    But I find real drama in my family. Is that a bad thing? Who knows. Mine is not the mild mannered, well adjusted group they could be, but they are all mine and I love them for who they are. :-) They inspire me and bump up conflict to a level all their own. :-D

    Anna from Shout with Emaginette

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