Sunday, October 18, 2009

Take A Break From Writing To Improve Your Stories

Often I hear writers bemoan the fact they don't have enough time to write, that they need more time. But because of other commitments - day jobs, spending time with family and friends, exercising, church, etc. - we can't spend as much time as we'd like writing. I'm one of the guiltiest. I admit it.

Yet, if we were to stay behind our computers all day, all night, day in, day out, we'd soon run out of things to write about. Our creativity would be in danger of drying up. We need to get out in the world to see what's going on, to be inspired by God's beautiful world with all its vibrant colors, scents, and sounds. We need to feel the squish of wet grass under our feet, the waxiness of a leaf between our fingers or the hard concrete underfoot that makes our feet ache to remember our heroes and heroines need to experience similar things to bring life to our stories.

This morning instead of writing while my daughter practiced soft ball, I exercised. I took a long walk in a neighborhood where I've never been. As usual, I had my cell phone with me, so I took several pictures that I also sent to Twitter. This will serve to remind me what I saw and to share the beautiful scenery with my friends, family, and followers.

Here's a picture of a beautiful butterfly that let me get close enough to take its picture. I've tried before to photograph butterflies but I've always scared them away before. This time, I got lucky.

Beautiful butterfly i saw while out 4 my morning walk today. on Twitpic


I also saw several of these little lizards scuttling about. They had very curly tails and are four or five times the size of the geckos that live in my garden. So I was able to get close enough to this one to take its picture, too. Unfortunately, this particular one doesn't have as curvy a tail as its neighbors.

More wildlife sightings on my walk. What type lizard? on Twitpic


After my walk, when I was in my car trying to write, this little guy kept posing for me, so I had to take his picture, too.

This squirrely fellow wants to be in 1 of my books. on Twitpic


I got a bit distracted taking pictures instead of plotting full-blown stories, but the details are just as important. I very well might add one of more of these characters to a story. Or I might mention how the lightning detector went off and five minutes later a rain so hard came we got wet even huddling under the pavillion. I'll remember how the temperature dropped from the sweltering magnitude that had made my cheeks hot and flushed, to a wonderful cool breeze that kissed them instead and how fresh and clean the air smelled after the shower.

Had I slept in late like I longed to do this morning, I'd have missed that butterfly. I'd have missed seeing these beautiful houses and grand Ft. Lauderdale canal. This isn't like the little, unassuming canal that runs behind my house. This is a huge canal that runs through the ritzy part of town where the home owners have their own docks and boats. The biggest boat was named "TomKat". I wonder if that's "TomKat" as in Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes... I can only speculate, but speculation often inspires new stories or takes them in different directions.

Ft lauderdales north grand canal. Getting good story ideas. A... on Twitpic


Another day when I took time to socialize with the other softball moms even though I was itching to write, one gave me the perfect idea for my book. It unblocked me. Had I forced myself to write, I'd have missed this great turn for the story.

Of course we writers must write and cannot always socialize or take a walk. But it's also good to leave our desks behind from time to time and experience the world and enjoy the people around us.


Recent posts you might like to read:

Author Interview: Claire Ashgrove


Ghost Hunting at a Haunted Hotel

Welcome to the Spookiest Month of the Year (+ don't burn your Ouija Board!)

People Don't Fall Out of Trees - Without Reason 

I'm Part of a Tribe 

Big Brother Is Watching You - This Means You BLOGGERS!

Are You Writing Me Into Your Book?

Dont Give Up Too Early

Must Write Must Write Must Write!!!


You'll also want to see what Amarinda Jones, Anika Hamilton, Anny Cook,
Barbara Huffert, Brynn Paulin, Bronwyn Green, Dakota Rebel, Kelly Kirch,
Molly Daniels, Sandra Cox, Regina Carlysle, and Cindy Spencer Pape
are up to, so make sure to visit them also. :)

5 comments:

Amber Skyze said...

You're so right. Getting out is important. Last night the DH and I went to the mall. While he was in a store I didn't want to shop in, I sat and watched people. I've got some fun ideas for the M/M I'm writing. Things I wouldn't have had if I sat at home like I wanted to!

Ashley Ladd said...

That happens to me a lot. Lately I'm tensed that I don't get the time to write that I want to. But then I'm living life, spending time with my loved ones, and cultivating new characters and new plot points. Even whole stories. We need a mixture. Now, I just have to make myself remember this.

Jenni Bailey said...

You're absolutely right. The chances of finding inspiration while staring at a computer screen are slim. We have to get out and observe the world we are trying to write about.

Good advice! :)

silverpixies said...

thanks make me feel bad for whining about not having enough time to write! LoL. your right though if i didnt get away sometimes then i would ignore my kids my SO and other things that i tend to do.. granted i am new to this writing thing and i try to set a word limit a day. never happens with my brood.. however the last 4 days all i have done was run around and not write i made up for it some.. thank you for making me stop and think that sometimes stopping and smelling the roses!

Ashley Ladd said...

Believe me, it's hard for me to release and let go and not be mad at myself for not writing. But it's true. We have to get out, not only for the writing, for our wellbeing and our family's.

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