Hey, everybody! As this is posted, I am currently on vacation in Greece, so I thought it would be a good time to talk about the importance of gaining life experiences for writers. Before we start though, just a quick reminder that the cover reveal and pre-sale giveaways for OUTLIERS will be running until August 25, so be sure to enter if you haven’t already! With that said, let’s get started!
What Do You Mean, New Experiences?
As a writer, it can be tempting to just stay inside and read/write all day (at least for me). But, it is important for writers to venture past the comforts of inside, and into the vast outdoors. Or, just to a coffee shop or something. Experiences can be big or small, but the important thing is that you have them. Interact with people and the world, not Netflix.
For example, if the only real dialogue you see is with your T.V., then it’s going to be hard for you to understand what natural conversation sounds like. It would be like drawing somebody else’s drawing of a picture. They can’t draw the picture perfectly, so some of the realism is lost there, and you can’t perfectly mimic their drawing, so more is lost there. It’s best to cut out the middle man, and draw directly from the original picture. So, go somewhere you can interact with people, or at least listen to them talk.
What Kind of Experiences Should I Have?
All sorts of things. It can be directly related to your story, or it can be completely unrelated. The point is that it will build you as a person, and give you a bigger understanding of the world, people, and of emotion.
Directly related experiences can be a great way to make your writing seem more authentic. Does your character have to survive in the wild for a week? You might not want to go this far, but you could go camping. Does your character fall off a cliff? Try indoor sky-diving. Do they build a snowman? Why not make one yourself?
Indirect experiences are crucial, not just as writers, but as human beings. We learn and understand the world through experiences. You can’t write round, interesting human beings if you never let yourself be one. Expand your view of the world, and get a deeper knowledge of what it means to be human. That’s why we write, isn’t it? We write about people and how their experiences impact them, change them, help them grow. Because that’s what being human is, changing and growing from experiences. We write because we are human, so how can we write if we are not?
If you don’t try to have friendships and other personal relationships, how can you write them? If you don’t talk to people, listen to them, how can you write natural dialogue? If you never do anything out of your comfort zone, how can you describe your character being out of theirs? Try to always be learning and experiencing, not only as an artist, but as a person.
It can be simple. Go for a walk, take the bus somewhere, meet a friend for lunch. Just get out into the world, however you want to do it.
In short, make sure you live enough if you want to write well.
If you missed it, don’t forget to check out the Q&A for OUTLIERS: I’m Publishing My Book! OUTLIERS Q & A
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With all of this in mind, go out and write your masterpiece!