(I know, are you sick of me yet? Because I’ve been MIA for a while, I decided to fill in a few holes this week. Thanks for putting up with me and oh by the way, I’m happy to hear that I’m not alone in my book hoarding tendencies. )
Today’s little discussion is going to be about breaking out of your rut.
“What rut?” You may think – “What’s she talking about? I’m perfectly happy writing short stories, non-fiction, copy material or news articles.”
And chances are you probably are happy. You’ve got a routine, you can write what you need to write and perhaps it’s even gotten easy.
You don’t want to rock the boat, right?
But look at any kind of exercise program. You never go to the gym and do the exact same routine every day. You’re supposed to mix it up. Cardio one day, weights another, maybe even a day of rest. When you do this, your entire body gets stronger.
I recently went to Spain with a friend. When I’m on vacation I usually take at least 3 books to read (what if I finish one and there’s no bookstore around?) This time though, I only took one book. Lonely Planet’s Guide to Travel Writing. I took one book so that I would read that one book.
I’m not a travel writer. Oh sure, I can write *stories* about my travels but that’s different from “travel writing.” (Here’s an example of my “story travel writing.”
While we were on the plane(s), I read my book.
Before I turned off my light each night, I read my book.
I carried it with me and read the excellent examples of travel essays with pen in hand, highlighting certain parts that I thought were brilliant.
And something funny started to happen. When we visited a cathedral, I started noticing details that I might not have before. I began to pay more attention to history, how things were constructed and how it all fit together.
At a restaurant I noticed the atmosphere, the prices, the glasses in which our wine was served.
It’s like I started using some muscles that although they had been there all along had become weakened from non-use.
Does this make me a travel writer?
Absolutely not, no more than getting up and walking around the block makes me a marathoner.
But it does open my eyes. It adds more muscle to my skill kit. I liked what I read enough to try writing a few travel articles. Like anyone else with a new program, I’ll start small, but if I keep with it enough smalls will eventually lead to a large.
Consider flexing a new or unused writing muscle in your spare time this weekend.
Read, do, write.
Wendy Thomas is an award winning journalist, columnist, and blogger who believes that taking challenges in life will always lead to goodness. She is the mother of 6 funny and creative kids and it is her goal to teach them through stories and lessons.
Wendy’s current project involves writing about her family’s experiences with chickens (yes, chickens). (www.simplethrift.wordpress.com) She writes about her chickens for GRIT, Backyard Poultry, Chicken Community, and Mother Earth News.