No, I’m not saying that writers don’t have a life. Actually, I would love to be a writer. But what I am trying to say is that, in order to be a much better writer, you must have a life. You can’t just stay home, sit in front of your computer and press keys expecting to create wonderful pieces of writing, unless you’re a complete genius. And even if you were a phenomenal writer, having contact with the outside world and living a life will give you a quality boost.
Writing is a job and jobs require breaks
For some lucky people, writing is a job, and for others it’s a hobby which in the best case generates an extra income. In both cases, if you are writing for someone else and expect to make some money out of it, you must consider it a job. It doesn’t matter if you expend 10 hours a day creating novels or if you just publish one or two articles per week, you are working. It takes time and effort, you must write, read, correct, read again. You must take your time and isolate from the world.
As is it a job, you must take breaks. You, your body and your mind must rest. That doesn’t mean you don’t like what you’re doing. It’s just that we can’t overload ourselves with anything, even if it’s our biggest passion. There will be a time in which you brain says “ok, enough, let me do something else”. Your productivity won’t be the same and, as it has now become a routine, that special relationship with each single article won’t be there anymore, everything will be just like another day at the office. So, take breaks every now and then, you’ll notice the difference.
Let yourself live different things
Isn’t it nice going to a concert and feel the vibration of your favourite chords? What about eating that delicious dessert you love? Imagine lying on the grass of some random park feeling the heat of the sunshine on your face, or how fun it would be to have a crazy night out with friends and party until your legs are exhausted. We do need all that sometimes.
Experiencing different things and letting yourself relate with a huge variety of different feelings and sensations will give you not only energy, but inspiration. Exposing your body to a range of activities that involve touching, listening, speaking, thinking, moving or whatever, is an extraordinary way of giving yourself some power to sit down and write again. Your body is kind of tired of being always in the same chair, moving always the same fingers and looking always at the same screen. Go somewhere else, do something else, expose yourself to fear, anger, happiness, adventure. Feel. Live.
You can also do it with your everyday activities. You still can’t just stop writing? Ok, try to write in a café, or in the park. Go to some bench near the river, take your computer and create some article there, or from your balcony, your terrace. You want to read? Read your book in the train or while you’re having breakfast in your favourite bakery, take it to the park or wherever. Just do something different and enjoy those sensations. You don’t have to do loads of things everyday. As I said said in this article, doing one thing per day could improve your productivity.
Discovering this new variety of feelings will also let you improve your writing. How? For example, if you know what missing your train feels like, or what a strawberry cider tastes like, you would then be able to use that parameters to make comparisons or to explain things. Let’s say I want to describe my first day at my new job, but it’s a job few people have done so I need to make an effort and come up with a nice comparison. Think… think… think… I’ve got it! It feels like the first time I’ve ever seen the sea in my life, because a couple of months ago I went on holidays to a beautiful beach I’d never been before and I kind of had the same feeling. See? Comparing, sometimes, is describing.
You want to know what’s going on out there
You can live in a bubble, but you shouldn’t. It’s more than ok if you want to just stay in your room, typing all day long and you don’t care about what’s going on in the world. “As long as I can write and people can read that, I’m ok”, you may think. On what hand that’s true, but on the other hand an up-to date writer will have much more advantages than an ignorant one.
First of all, the stuff that is going on right now is one topic you can write about. But even if you are writing about something that happened thousands of years ago, or about somethings that’s going to happen in the future, or even science fiction, knowing the latest news is more than helpful. Why? You can compare past events with the current ones, which is always cool. What if something you’re writing about just doesn’t exist anymore? I’m not saying you have to know every single detail about the world’s actuality, but at least have a bread idea and you will be one step above those who don’t even know the date.
Your brain is a sponge
Absolutely everything can be a start-point for a piece of writing. The colour of a house, the smell of a dish, the size of a pair of shoes, the reflection of the sun on a lake, whatever. If you follow my advice and go out there to have some life, keep your eyes, ears and mind open. Always. It doesn’t matter how banal a situation seems, just consider it an opportunity. Seek opportunities, and if you don’t find them, create them.
People with interesting lives have interesting things to tell, and those things can eventually be told through articles. Living will make you a better writer, but if you don’t want to write, it will also make you a better human being.