A writer is the reader’s portal to another world. A world where their imagination takes the reigns, and one which is fueled by the words and stories that a writer weaves with his mind. Simply put, books and stories can be escapes for some or pure entertainment for others. So it is up to us, as writers, to make sure that our words do indeed take them on a ride that will long withstand the passage of time in their memories.
There are many ways a creative writer can reach the pinnacle of their abilities. Sure, you could go for writing classes, practice the art, and maybe even look toward established writers for aid. Or you could travel. There is no written word out there which will be an able substitute for the first-hand experience of a trip. I’m sure you could research your heart out on a place and yet come short of several things you would sorely need to write creatively. Well, here are seven of those!
Inspiration. The most important aspect in the process of writing. Of course, by reading about them you would know all about the tigers of North India, the temples of Cambodia, the incredible beaches of Greece and Tanzania, or the lush jungles of Borneo. But how could you possibly know how the hair on your neck stand on end at a tiger’s roar; the knee-buckling history behind the majestic Wats; how the wind cradles you as your toes dig their way into the warm sands of the beach; or the chills and thrills of a jungle experience? How would you know the raw emotion at glimpsing the magical northern lights, painted on the night skies of Iceland? The kind of emotion that could make you write wonders. An artist takes birth when he is unshackled. And there is nothing more freeing than travelling.
Perception. No matter what has been written about a place, go check it out for yourself. What may be bland or unenjoyable for some, could be fascinating to you. Always trust your own perspective as that frees you up to make your own deductions of the place. It helps you craft stories that are unique and yours alone. But this can mean something else as well. It could help you see someone else’s point of view too, which will make your writing unbiased and endearing to the neutral.
Explore. If there is to be growth, there has to be variation. There has to be change. No writer has ever become better by sticking to what they know best or what they think come easier to them. Trying out new things and exploring the world of options available to you may unravel something you never thought you had. There is nothing better than travelling that makes you step out of your comfort zone, so to speak. Discovering parts of the world, step by wonderful step, all while discovering parts of yourself too!
Experience. There is an astounding difference between writing about a place you have read or heard about and writing about one you have been to. The former gives you a glimpse while the latter catches the soul of the place. Every little experience makes you grow as a writer; as a person. And don’t worry about making the bad choices we usually tend to make on trips.When it comes to writing stories, there are no bad experiences. Everything that happens to you, the good and the not-so-good, are eventual chapters of your bestseller! The crazier the better! Okay, maybe not too crazy.
Don’t be a tourist. Seek the deepest, uncharted corners of the place you are travelling to and unravel its mysteries. Look beyond the iconic representatives and the common tourist traps. Go in search of those that are just waiting to be found and written about. The neglected and forgotten jewels; the streets, the smell, the taste, the sights of those that are rarely experienced. The greater joy is not in figuring out what is unique to an area but why it is so. Be hungry to know more, to delve farther than any tourist would and use everything you learn to enhance your own writing.
Mingle. Every great story needs characters that catch your eye. Who stay with you even after the story has ended. And each character demands depth. The little quirks, nuances to his past experiences, motives and his reasons to be. Every little scar, or the odd limp between steps, adds to the plot. To how captivating it can be. So blend in with the locals, talk to the odd waiter or guide, and get to know real stories. That is the beauty of the world. There is no limit to how much it can surprise you with a story you would have deemed improbable.
Open your heart. All said and done, no matter how hard you seek inspiration, you’d be hard pressed to attain it if you don’t let yourself go. Free your mind and go where the flow takes you. Sure, plan all you want to make it an efficient trip, but make sure you don’t restrict yourself. Just follow your heart. Take detours if that’s what you feel like doing and find joy in the simple things. Like dipping your toes in a lake or stopping to pet the animals. Try out new things and have fun! Find what will electrify your senses into feeling things you rarely feel; writing in ways you’d never known you could.
Life goes by real fast and if you’re not careful, you may end watching it pass you by. With so many places yet to be seen and so many stories yet to be penned down, what are you waiting for? There’s a whole world out there and the best part about it is that the world will never run out of things to teach you!