Thursday, July 06, 2006

Live Life!

Tell me if you've been here: You're writing's clipping along at break-neck speed. You're meeting all your deadlines, even exceeding them. Ideas are flowing from your brain to your typing fingers as effortlessly as a rushing mountain stream. Then you hit "the wall". Your well dries up. Your brain feels like oatmeal mush. How could someone like you even begin to think you can write a book (or article or story) worth reading?

I'd venture to guess just about every writer on the planet has been in this wilderness before. But you know what? You don't have to stay there wallowing in frustration. Here's a tip I'm learning: If I want to write deeply, I need to live life. Sometimes it's very easy as writers to hole ourselves up in our offices and draw from our creative wells time and time again without ever refilling. We need to get out and live life!

I'll admit it. I'm an introvert. I'd rather take a walk by myself than go to a party. My idea of fun is sitting in a comfy chair reading a good novel. I don't mind being alone in a room all day long staring at a computer screen. But I need to learn how to get over some of these tendencies. Break out of my shell. Never be afraid to ask questions. Constantly strive to learn new things. I know I won't truly enjoy life if I don't get out there and do things my introvert self would rather avoid.

Several months ago my local airport was having an "open house". I read in the paper they were offering helicopter rides. That sounded very cool to the more adventurous part of me, but it was quickly squelched by the cautious part. It took some prodding from a family member, but I finally overrode my hesitance and went for it. I plunked down my $25.00 and climbed on board a two-person Bell helicopter. I'm so glad I did. What an amazing experience. My creative juices were flowing through the entire five minutes (what if someone got on board expecting a five minute ride and was instead kidnapped ... what if a helicopter pilot and one passenger crashed in the wilderness and had to survive ....)

Don't be afraid to do something out of your comfort zone today. And while you're at it, try not to think about how you can use the research in your writing, like I did. Just enjoy the experience. It will be like adding buckets of water to your creative well.

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