Why writers need to go outside

I’ve got a busy month coming up. A girl’s weekend (a very rare indulgence), the Romance Writers of Australia conference, and the first ever Australian Book Expo, where I’m talking on a panel and hosting a stall.

All of this is very exciting, but if I’m to be honest, it also makes me slightly uncomfortable. Why? Because that’s a whole lot of busy and socialising for one month. I’m the sort of person who needs quiet time and space to recharge (as many writers are). Getting this quiet time on a normal day-to-day basis is hard work between the demands of family, work and writing. It’s going to be even harder next month.

When I’m booked up like this, I start of feel everything is a hassle. I start to daydream about quiet time at home where I can read a book or write. But I also realise something else: in order to be a better writer, I need to get out from behind my desk from time to time. Here’s why:

  • Networking with other writers. The writing community (and particularly the romance genre) is extremely supportive. Getting to know other authors has afforded me support in all aspects of the industry from discovering great editors, bloggers, those involved in publications and events, as well as those with graphic design skills who are generous enough to share their skills. There’s a saying that it takes a village to raise a child, well I think this is true of creating a good writer: the stronger the village, the stronger the writer.
  • Meeting readers. So this one sounds obvious, but having the opportunity to chat to readers or potential readers is amazing! I know this is achievable from your computer screen too, but really, how often do you get the chance to talk to real flesh and blood readers?
  • Shaking up the routine. It’s winter here at the moment, and it’s dark early. Motivation to get out and about is at an all time low. Lately I’ve felt a sort of frustrated apathy settling in and it’s seeping into my attitude towards my writing too. I’m sick of the routine but the routine is comforting! So what better way to shake things up than to get out and about attending some of these organised events?
  • Inspiration. Inspiration doesn’t always happen from behind a desk. It happens when you’re out living life, meeting and talking to people. It’s these sorts of experiences that get us writers fired up so that when we return to our desks we’re glad to be there, not there because we feel we have to be.

So, during this coming month when I start to feel that sense of hassle creeping in, I’ll remind myself of the points above. (I’ll also breathe and try and grab opportunities to recharge when I can, too).

And the best bit? By the time my busy month is through? It will be springtime!

How about you? Does the thought of a busy social schedule stress your delicate writing sensibilities? And what do you do about it?

4 Replies to “Why writers need to go outside”

  1. I hear what you say Belinda. One of the things I’ve surprised myself is finding out just actually how much time I do have. Okay I don’t have children and I’m not really a committed writer. But I do have three jobs, four if you count my private work.

    Yes will need to get outside, because exercise is thinking. Exercise time is creation time. Yes, there’s all that networking and meetings and and everything else, but what I always found as a part-time writer was getting outside brought the inside closer to home.

    It’s pretty hard for anyone these days just to be a full-time writer. Yes, there are thousands of people doing it, but that’s thousands among billions.

    1. Hi Rob. I totally agree. For me, exercise is thinking time and plays a huge part in allowing me to be creative. I’m a walker and walk many kms a week when I can. It helps to clear my mind and if I don’t do it regularly enough my writing (and life in general) suffers.

      In terms of being a full-time writer, I find I write better when I have other things going on. If all I had to concentrate on was my writing, I think I’d find it stifling!

  2. I sit down at my desk when I am inspired, and I leave it when I need to find inspiration.

    I will say that having little free time does help me stick to my self imposed deadlines. I am afraid that if I were less busy, I’d never get anything done.

    Have fun at the conference!

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