Creative writers need to be exposed
to people, places and ideas outside their scope
of approval and interest
‘Write about what you know’
How many times have you been given this advice by another, perhaps by a professional in the field or someone who teaches about writing, the moment you let it be known that you want to be a writer?
I raise my hand in this. I was given this advice and have dispensed the same after I earned my spurs.
This advice is well and good, especially for those who have just dipped their big toe in the industry.
Budding writers are encouraged strongly to heed this advice.
Not only will this immerse the budding writer’s foot in the wave of weaving words that wow the readers; more importantly, it will serve as a whetstone in honing one’s writing skills.
But what happens after you have written about all that you know?
Some may think they are suffering from writer’s block. I will, however, beg to disagree. My hunch is that they have simply used up the materials they sourced from what they know.
This, certainly, need not be the case – that of exhausting story ideas from one’s experience and knowledge.
Living in a bubble is detrimental to a writer’s creativity.
By living in a bubble, I refer largely to the following:
-staying in a closed group of friends and family members who think the same;
-reading materials whose theme appeals to you and discarding those you disapprove of;
-watching films and TV dramas that you think you fancy, but clicking off less than halfway through the selection that fails to sustain your interest;
-going to the same coffee shop, bookstore, restaurants, cinema, and so on, usually with your own clique;
-taking the same route when driving to a specific destination;
-in other words, not getting out of your comfort zone from time to time.
Curiosity in people, places and ideas outside your comfort zone is a must
There is nothing wrong in wanting to feel safe and secure with people whose ideas do not clash with ours, or in going to places where we are at home. It’s an ideal place to be, and many find contentment in it.
But for creatives to live in their own bubble without trying to break out of it every now and then, this may not be a brilliant choice.
*By not going out of your way to interact with people whose beliefs are the polar opposite to yours, the opportunity to learn from them is lost. Seeing the world in their eyes can even change your way of thinking.
*By not finishing reading a book or watching a film that offers no appeal, you forfeit a chance to learn how not to write a book or screenplay with the same banal treatment. You may even conceive of a plot with a dissimilar ending.
*By being rigid in declining to see how other people live, or discovering other ways or routes to reach life points from point A to points B to Z, self-education is unmet.
If you’re the introverted type, forget your tendency towards introversion – unless you intend to make the topic your niche, which is fine. But would you honestly want to limit your creativity?
So, be curious outside your safe zone.
Be inquisitive of what it is like on the other side of the fence.
There are limitless ideas out there, waiting to be tapped, outside your bubble.
Happy foraging for story ideas! 😊
First published by Coffee Times on Medium.
Thank you very much for reading!