|The author, Dane F. Baylis|
ALL WORK AND NO PLAY CAN TURN YOU INTO A ONE DIMENSIONAL TWIT!
Put Your Hands In The Air And Step Away From The Terminal, Sir.
With everything I put up on-line about writing something everyday...Write your way out of block...Write a mountain of crap to find the grains of gold, the last thing you might expect from me is to tell you to Turn Off, Unplug, Go Out! After all, haven't we all heard about your first five hundred thousand words just being the warm up? Aren't the first five novels just the road to finding your authentic voice? Why, then, would I suddenly be yelling at you to get the hell away from it all and go take a walk?
Simple, you cannot sit in front of a computer screen day in, day out, and expect to remain fresh. A writer needs input from his world and its inhabitants. Even if you're creating from whole cloth those brave new worlds where no human being will ever set foot, it's vital that you be able to base your interactions and descriptions in REALITY! (As Robin Williams said, "What a concept!") You can create something as deeply personal as you wish, if it doesn't talk in language and symbols common to your audience, it's just so much psycho-babble.
In order to carry off effective characters, settings, and moods, you have to marinate in the prime sauce! You have to take your bony ass into the world and STOP, LOOK, and LISTEN. Don't dwell on what it is you're working on. Meet some friends and make a concerted effort not to bore them with your latest project. Hell. They're your friends! Why not enjoy their company without ego humping the get together to death.
Listen to the world around you. The sounds and silences. Eavesdrop on the conversation at the table next to you in the local taqueria. Go down to the beach, sit on the sand and shut your eyes. (And your big mouth!) Listen to the ocean for ten or fifteen minutes. What does it sound like? Is there surf? Birds? A big damned growling Pit Bull? File it all away and let the dog have your taco as a distraction to facilitate your escape.
Go to the park. Check some fine looking lady. Really look at her...Okay, stop staring, that's just friggin' creepy. What is it that makes her so attractive? The way she dresses? The way she has her hair done? Her smile? Maybe it's the way she interacts with her kids? Or the look she gets when she smiles at her six foot four inch truck driver boyfriend? Watch the staring, he's looking this way!
What's this all about? No matter how hard you try, YOU CAN'T OUT CREATE REALITY! There are times when you just have to soak it in. Later, when you get back to the desk, you can break out the notebook and see how much of it you recall. Describe it in a way that makes it as hyper-real for you as possible. Do this regularly and before you know it, you will have more material than you can use in a lifetime. What good is that? Perhaps a friend or someone who sees you as a mentor (there's a scary fucking thought, huh?), is looking for a way to describe something in a piece they're working on and you just happen to have a paragraph or two that might apply. Go on you egotistical bastard, share it! Remember, "What goes around, comes around." There's more truth to that than poetry.
Meanwhile...live, love, write.
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Dane F. Baylis. Author.