Today I want to talk about what it's like to live as a writer. But not exactly about the part of it that you're probably thinking of. When us writers talk about living as writers, we usually talk about:
1. the number of caffeinated drinks we consume per day
2. the number of
3. the number of meals we miss
4. the number of words we did
5. the number of times we wanted to rip our hair out or haul our laptops at a window
And so on.
And that's an important part of being a writer. Whether we're stuck in the drafting cave or the revision cave, we're bound to have days where those five things make us either unwilling or relieved to get some sleep at night.
But there's another part to living as a writer. And it's something I don't see people mention a whole lot, which makes me worried. Because it's super important.
What part? you ask.
The part where you "x" out of twitter, close your laptop, go outside, and actually live and see the world.
I think as writers, we tend to think that words are the most important thing. That any day where we don't bust out 2k or tweet at least fifty things or outline two new novel ideas is a catastrophe for our human condition.
But I disagree. I think we're missing out. Not just on parties, dates, and other social events, but on stories. The very fodder we could use to write more books. And every story doesn't have to be a book--sometimes a story can simply be a story, one that we tell our kids about or document in photos, or cling to when the going gets rough.
There's a whole world outside, after all. There are adventures to be had, in the starlight and on the streets drenched in rays of sun. And, I promise you, many of these adventures are just as good if not better than the ones we write about and read about in books.
I know writing can be a great escape. I know it's a beautiful form of expression and it can make for the best kind of day, but I think we'll become better writers if we set aside other days for more worldly endeavors.
Go for a drive, hike a trail in the wilderness, hang out at a park, watch some meteors fall, laugh with your friends at a restaurant in the evening, have a movie night.
Step away from your computer and your words for a little while. Just live.
The words won't disappear.
Some of my favorite places I've visited out in the world: