What are we talking about today?

I'll get back to theme days once I find a groove of posting regularly. In the meantime, most of my posts are about some variation of books, bikes, buses, or Broadway. Plus bits about writing, nonprofits, and grief from time to time.

This blog is mostly lighthearted and pretty silly. It's not about the terrible things happening in the world, but please know that I'm not ignoring those things. I just generally don't write about them here.

03 March 2011

Writing Experience

I keep reading all these brilliant blog posts about writing: Voice, characterization, world-building, editing, beta reading, querying, etc. And I'm inspired when I read them and a little bit in despair because I don't know the first thing about any of those-- well, not enough to write a blog post about it, anyway.

So instead, I'm going to write about something that I do have a grasp on. :)

You've all heard me moan and wail about my Creative Problem Solving class. The content for the class is actually really great; I love that the class is offered, but I'm merely okay with taking it myself. One of the things the lecturer gave us early on was a list of four things creative people value; among them was "an experiential life". (I just learned how to spell "experiential".  Good job, spell check!) And I think he's 100% correct.

I blogged once before about how doing things is what fuels my creativity; the more I do, the more I have to write about. And it doesn't have to be anything fancy, either; a stroll round my neighbourhood will usually do it. Or a trip to the grocery store, or a short run, and certainly a good book.

So I'm a bit concerned when I hear people say how they'd love to experience more things, but don't have the money to travel. Now, don't get me wrong; I have benefited from travel and I'm grateful for the ability to do so. But I don't think that I, or anyone else, need pack the bags and head out to experience things. Especially in a city like Austin (although I bet there's plenty to do in your city, too). An experiential life is waiting right outside the door.

Go to a park. Take the bike instead of a car for an errand. Find a high school play to watch. Choose a busy intersection (busy with lots of things, not just cars) and watch for a while. Volunteer for a neighbourhood clean-up day. Find a local rental of a vehicle you wouldn't normally use (bike, canoe, stand-up paddle board, pedicycle, etc.) and give it a whirl. Skip the produce section and go to a farmer's market. Take a bus, ride a train, talk to a neighbour. All sorts of experiences are waiting for you! And then you can turn them into stories.

So, what are you waiting for? Get out there! But first, leave a comment and share a story.


Unknown said...

Good for you, agree that there are many ways to have exciting experiences. I've pushed myself to the limit all my life, doing it every day now, but that's not too difficult to achieve when you're my age. :0)

Su said...

Yay for you! I wonder if it's a generational thing, that people my age think experiences have to be big and exciting to "count". Or if it's just an age thing and we'll collectively grow out of it.

erica and christy said...

Yes, you're right, Su!! Just today I was in a bit of a funk over all the writers on the ABNA forums saying where they've lived and where they've visited and how much they know about dialects of several hundred European villages (okay, maybe not that). But hey, someday I'll travel. For now, I'm happy with where I've been and that's what I write about.

Oh, and Su - the comment on our blog today? Bloody brilliant!

N. R. Williams said...

Great post and so true. I'd be in big trouble if I had to visit the world I write about. One, it doesn't exist...oh, I wish it did. Two, we are thankfully out of the medieval ages. I do go the the Renaissance Fair, it's fun.
N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium

Su said...

@erica: I wouldn't actually kill for a treadmill desk, but I might fantasize about it. Hee hee.

@N.R.: The Renaissance Fair! I am totally going to add that to my list. I've never lived near enough to one to go, but I think that's changed now.

Elizabeth Twist said...

Earlier this year, my partner and I discovered that we did not have to leave the (smallish) city we live in so that he could find work - he got a job within an easy commute. Hooray! We both like it here. For Christmas, I gave him a handmade tourist's guide to our town. We've been heading out once a month for some kind of adventure that's in our town, or close by. I'm amazed at how much there is to do if you think like a tourist in your own town.

Kari Marie said...

This is a wonderful reminder to live life with an open mind, take chances and be wiling to try new things I know I'm guilty of falling into the trap of bemoaning my lackluster life, but I'm the only one who can change it. Time to get off my butt.

Su said...

@Elizabeth: That is very cool! It's true-- there's something to be found everywhere, if you just look.

@Kari: Guilty, as well. Usually most of the moaning happens when I've slept in and only moved from the bed to the couch... who's to blame for having a boring life, eh?

Anonymous said...

back when I was writing a book I'll never ever send to even be edited I distinctly remember delaying writing the last three pages so I could go on a long bike ride, because I knew they wouldn't be good if I didn't first do something.

Theresa Milstein said...

The more places we go, the more places we can set our books in. That's the one thing I can't really fake even when so much of what happens in my fantasy novels.

But I agree, we all should go out more and experience where we live. It's spirit-lifting.

Crystal Collier said...

My story goes something like this: "Once there was this blogger who received an award." And it's you!
Yay, and pick it up at:


Hart Johnson said...

This is a great reminder! I'm one of these 'too poor to travel' ones, but I thiink with 'writer's glasses' on, even walks through the woods or past old houses can be experiential.

Su said...

@Charlie: Physical activity definitely stimulates brain activity.

@Theresa: Fair enough, but I'd still hate for anyone to feel like less of a writer/creative person/whatever just because they couldn't go to exotic places.

@Cheesy: Cool! What a great ending! ;)

@Hart: Ooh, old houses are the best!

Rachael Harrie said...

Hey Su, great post! You're so right, some of the most awesome moments of my life have taken place right in the city where I live.



Su said...

Thanks, Rach!