Some of the best ideas come from getting outside. Go on an adventure! You don’t need to be elaborate—trekking across the tundra in Alaska, but go out into the world.
If you are writing about crowds, explore new places where people gather: malls, grocery stores, or marketplaces.
Sometimes the weather keeps us indoors, but try observing the natural aspects.
My second novel is based in Africa, so exploring helps make it concrete. I try to experience the energy—listen to the wind and birds, smell the earth, and touch the cool stones or damp sandy granules.
So. . . get out there and have some fun! Enjoy writing what you see, hear, and feel.
Take care my friends.
(pictures: White Tank Mountains, Arizona)
To JOIN or not to JOIN
. . .writing clubs, groups, or gatherings?
Joining a writing group was a HUGE step for me, an introvert—a dysfunctional, hides-in-a-corner, rocking herself in the fetal position—introvert. After much hesitation, I finally attended a group of women writers.
My first day was like starting school as a freshman—nervous, shaking a bit, and feeling as though all eyes were on me. It was a day of learning called “Ink Shop”, headed by a bubbly retired English teacher. I was so tense that I took my two teenage daughters along for support.
Even though no ground was laid on my first day, I returned for another, “Rough Draft”. We were asked to bring our current projects to read out loud. Out loud!!! Did you read that? Yes, FULL panic had set in. I was so nervous that another friendly lady volunteered to read it for me.
Over the years, I have developed a bond with those ladies in our group. I can’t say I am completely out of my shell, but I don’t hesitate reading out loud anymore.
One of the benefits about joining a writing group or club is that you’re surrounded by like-minded people, who enjoy the art of written words. So, relax. . . these are your people.
Another advantage is that you finally have an audience. One of my hardest problems was finding someone (outside of my family circle) to read anything I’d written. If you haven’t noticed already, people don’t read as often as they once did. Let’s face it; there are a lot of distractions and other resources for entertainment. We, authors/readers are becoming a dying breed, (okay not literary—but you get my meaning). People don’t want to read, especially if you don’t have “published” in front of your name. At writing groups, they encourage sharing projects.
Even though I know how hard it is to “share”—it’s like baring your soul to the world, but take a deep breath—it might not be as bad as you think. You’ll hear feedback, get encouragement, and pick up a few pointers along the way. Trust me.
Writing groups usually offer critiques to help polish grammar, spelling, wording, context, and overall to boost your confidence. Plus, many groups have other resources: teachers, editors, publishers, magazine representatives. You’d be surprised who you might meet.
I can understand if you do not have available access to groups or classes. Maybe you are limited by transportation, money, disability, or live in the middle of Alaska and by chance you have internet—today. Believe it or not, there are “on-line” groups as well; however, if you are an introvert, such as I, please try to breach the barrier and step outside. If I could do it, so can you.
Good luck & take care my friends!