Live Life, Write Novels

It was taller than the Statue of Liberty.  Taller than the Eiffel tower.

We learned this as we stood in line.  One of the park tour guides announced it over the intercom.  We couldn’t see him – there were too many people standing before us, waiting with us to fall 227 feet at 62 miles an hour.

It was my idea.  People who know me would be surprised, because I am so cautious.  But I convinced my friend to wait in line with me for an hour just so that we could ride the Giant Drop at Six Flags.

Why?

I wanted to know how it felt.  I wanted to know if my stomach would clench or flip.  If I would scream or shut my eyes or both.  I wanted to know if my knees would buckle, if my toes would curl.  I just wanted to try something new.

And I have.  I can say that I have fallen 227 feet.  I can say that I fell from that height, screaming my head off as my stomach flipped and my toes curled.

It made me a better writer.  Now, when a character of mine finds himself free-falling, I know exactly how he feels.

Experiencing life is probably the best way for a writer to improve his/her writing.  It is one of the best ways, but often the most ignored and the most difficult.

Writers, by nature, are cautious folk. We are the wallflowers.  But not every character we write about is as introverted as we are.  So we must step outside of our comfort zones and experience the world so that we can relate to our characters.

I had a creative writing instructor once who ate dirt.  She said that she tried it just to know what it was like.  She did it for the writing.

What have you done lately for the writing?

Today I encourage you to minimize your Firefox tabs, shut the computer down, and step outside.  Do something new.  Your writing will thank you for it.

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