I know. It hasn’t been that long. Sit down and write, he says. Get the words, he says. And now he wants me to get outside?! Make up your mind!
Same Ideas, Different Day
Remember that excitement when Robert Downey Jr. got up in the press conference and said, “I am Iron Man”? It was amazing. Superhero movies reached a new golden age. We wouldn’t have to watch Toby McGuire do weird dance numbers.
Iron Man 2 was good. Thor was enjoyable. Then they started to become the same thing. For ten years. Superhero movies are amazing. But they adhere to a formula. Your writing does, too.
If your writing fantasy, how do you write about going through a swamp, without being knee deep in mucky waters? Which smell. Try hitting the five senses of walking down NYC, when you haven’t been there. What about the peace of being in a forest surrounded by nature?
Get Outta Here
I went to Guatemala for mission work. However, it helped with writing Ghost Monkey, and anything related to the Sankive Jungle. It is hot. It is humid. It rains a lot and is filled with lush green.
While I could read about the jungle, and watch the amazing documentaries, there is something about being out in a new environment that really brings it alive.
If our experiences are contained in our own backyard, then that’s as far as we can write or art in any form. Meanwhile, there are other cultures and experiences we can expose ourselves to.
Culture isn’t that far away. Plane tickets to Asia aren’t required. People a couple miles away from you live completely different lives. Even just your neighbor. Or go do a Tough Mudder.
Otherwise there are documentaries and books. Head to the library to get out of your normal space. Read about foreign lands and philosophies. Through new experiences we gain the ability to express ourselves better, and to represent the world around us more acutely.
So get out there and expand yourself. How have you expanded?