Writing into the New Year: Know Your World

No, I don’t mean the world your writing about.  I mean the one you live in.

I intend to be brief, partly because my eloquence is restricted by lack of sleep after ringing in the new year with some of my favorite people and partly because you have a world full of experiences to discover and now is as good a time to start as any.

Writing can be a thankless pursuit, especially if you don’t love writing for the sake of writing (in which case you might consider spending your time another way).  No one will ever thank you for all the time you spend researching, learning to write well, learning to edit, and simply developing your craft.  No one will reassure you that all those thousands of pages you’ve written and rewritten in an effort to create a work truly worthy of sharing with the world were worth your time.  You have to know that for yourself.

However, the process of improving doesn’t have to all be hard work and long hours of nitpicking away at every little imperfection in your art.

If writing is an inescapable part of who you are, one of the many things you can do to make your worlds and stories ring true is to get to know the world you live in.  Learn a language, learn other cultures, and discover people in all their facets as groups and as individuals.  Take the time to learn something new.  Go places you’ve never been.  Try things you haven’t done before that your characters might do.  Try skydiving, kayaking, or horseback riding.  Open new doors in your world and in your mind and those experiences will give your writing a sincerity that will resonate with your readers.

Charge into the new year and seize every opportunity to experience your world.  Most importantly, have fun with it and know that it will make your writing shine.