You see that big rectangular-shaped thing next to you? You probably covered it with blinds or curtains or black duct tape…well peel back those layers of shade and peer outside that transparent surface. Done? Right, you see that sparkly, people-filled, place just beyond the thin layer of protective glass? That’s called outside. I know, it looks scary. There’s weather, new sights and smells, and worse of all…people *shudder*
Well tough luck, buddy because you’re going out there…outside! No, you don’t have a choice in the matter. Go…now! Well, if you could finish reading this post first then that would be just peachy, but after that – OUTSIDE!
I know what you’re thinking:
“What’s this nutty but insanely handsome man on about? I go outside every day.”
Do you? Do you?! You might venture outside your house and scurry to the bus stop or the safety of your car, you might even pop out for a lunch break and do a bit of window shopping, but do you really go outside. Not to get too metaphysical on your ass, but just stepping out of your front door does not mean you’ve gone outside. Not in the sense I’m talking about anyway (sense? He’s talking ‘sense’?).
As a writer you probably find it hard to switch off that big sexy writing brain of yours, I know I do. Well when you step outside, really step outside, and your eyes finally adjust to that giant burning fireball in the sky, you’ll find a wealth of inspiration just waiting to be soaked up by that juicy organ you keep in your shiny skull.
Other people’s conversations, the colour of a wet park bench as the raindrops glisten in the afternoon sun, the lazy path of a dead leaf caught in the breeze, the breathtaking architecture of a building you never noticed before…the images are endless.
You want character descriptions? Head to a local café or park and take your pick! You can listen to people’s accents and dialects, watch how they walk, how they carry themselves, how they argue, flirt, laugh. Watch them interact and ignore, watch them pick their nose when they think no ones watching, watch other writers watching you watching people…
Setting getting you down? Just take a wander ANYWHERE – somewhere you usually wouldn’t go. Don’t turn left when you leave your house and head for the same old bus stop, turn right and do a bit of exploring. Not sure if you’re allowed to go somewhere? Step inside anyway; you can use that feeling of nervousness in your novel. Plus the grumpy security guard that kicks you out for trespassing will make an excellent character in your next book.
Don’t be afraid to venture down a different path…you never know where it may take you!
Just make sure you go outside…now!