live a little

Why You Should Step Away From Your Desk And Live A Little

Writing is a lonely task–that’s a given. We writers thrive on being alone with our thoughts, our characters, and our stories. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Except in order to write with true depth and emotion, you need to have experienced something significant and worth writing about. And that requires you to step away from your desk.

Getting Out From Behind Your Desk

If you want to be a great writer, you’ve gotta have details to work with–felt emotions, experiences you’ve had, stories to tell, lessons you’ve learned. All of this is what drives fiction, and while it is possible to write well about something you’ve never experienced first-hand, the best writing comes from you and your experiences.

What that means is sometimes you’ve gotta step out from behind your desk and live your life. You’ve gotta have fun, adventure. You need to get your hands dirty and work really hard at something.

Great fiction often comes straight from real-life happenings, situations and events, as well it should. There’s some crazy shit happening out there! Why not fictionalize your experience of it?

Most writers are introverts, which is why they’re able to spend so much time alone doing the writing and actually enjoy themselves. But that doesn’t mean social time isn’t also needed, because it is.

Susan Cain, author of Quiet, talks about introverts needing to be social. She suggests having a weekly quota of “social life” activities. Then once you’ve hit your quota, you have full permission to hide in your house for a few days.

By forcing yourself to go out and enjoy life more, you’ll find things to bring back to your writing.

Creating Community Around Your Writing

Even though writing is a solo task, you still need camaraderie, support and community. You need to be around other writers who’ve been where you want to be, that way you have something to aspire to.

Being around other writers is inspiring. It brings your energy to a whole different level, and makes you feel so good.

After all, these people “get” you. You’re not strange to them. They don’t find it weird that you sacrifice social time to hang out with your laptop.

There’s no judgment when you’re around other writers. And that’s what makes it such a powerful experience.

Build Community Into Your Writing Life

Keep on doing what you’re doing with your writing, just be sure to build in some community so you’re not always alone. Here are some ways to build community into your writing life:

  • Host A Write-Inwriting alongside other people is fun! It’s motivational. It forces you to do the writing because everyone else is. Why not host a write-in at a local coffee shop or bookstore, and invite your writer-friends to join you?
  • Attend A Weekly Writing Meet Up–you can find local writing groups in almost every city. Find one in yours and join in. Being around other writers will keep you in a writing mindset.
  • Join A Book Club–while it’s not technically writing, reading is still an important part of the writing process. The bonus is that the book club group will break down the stories you read each month and pick it apart, discussing all aspects of it. This will help you learn how to tell better stories.

As a writer it’s your job to find time to be alone and do the writing. But you also have to balance that with having social time and being around other writers. Life is meant to be enjoyed.

The more you enjoy, the more you have to write about.

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How do you balance your writing life with your social life? 

Image courtesy of Kevin Wong 

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