Saturday, September 9

How Hobbies Can Improve Your Writing

How Hobbies Can Improve Your Writing

Do you have a hobby? Something you don’t get paid for but do anyway? I do! I never used to, it was writing, writing, writing all day long. Then I let my writing schedule slip for three weeks and ran right into a wall of writer’s block.

To help me get back into the swing of things I gave the protagonist of my WIP an interest in two of my hobbies: baking and fermenting. I do things like bake pies then serve them with a salad dressed with my very own apple cider vinegar.

You likely have other interests: hiking, running, knitting, working out, inventing, electronics, programming, playing cards, climbing, and so many more!

Today I want to talk about how your hobbies, your passions, can help revitalize your writing.

Picking up a Hobby Can Improve Your Writing


Motivation


While it's true that giving a character a hobby can help flesh them out, hobbies can enrich your own life as well. The bonus is that, if you're anything like me, writing about your hobby will make you ever more excited about it and you'll find yourself pushing your boundaries—going on a new jogging route, trying a new recipe, and so on. This, in turn, will feed back into your passion for writing.

Which brings us to ...

Hobbies Help Inject Passion into Your Writing—and Your Life!


I’m watching The Great British Bake Off—a LOT of folks love—and by “love” I mean go completely nuts for—a well-baked loaf. Which is great! Why? Passion. I think having passion (or, better, passionS) is the key not only to good writing, but to life.

Passion


It's impossible to overstate how important passion is to creating a great story. The goal of all storytelling is to evoke passion in the reader. One thing I haven't talked about as much is evoking massion in the WRITER—in you. But your passion is just as important as the readers'. Perhaps more. Without passion there is little motivation to get up in the morning, pick up your pen and write.

I know, I know, professional writers need to write—DO write—regardless of how they feel. If they don’t then they can’t afford to do nifty things like pay rent or eat. I get that. TRUST ME, I get that! But any little bit of interest, of passion, of excitement, of joy, you can find in writing—hell, in life!—the better.

One way to do this is to give your characters attributes that are fun for you, that you would love reading about, that you would enjoy watching.

Write Yourself, Your Interests, into Your Stories


It’s about taking care of yourself, doing things that feed your soul.

Writers often became tired. Disheartened. That’s natural. What helps us keep on keepin' on ARE our passions. It’s the things we care about, the things we are passionate about, that keep us connected to our characters and their fictional worlds. Writing would be much easier if it was a sprint. But it’s not, it’s a marathon that lasts a lifetime.

I think that, ultimately, it’s our passions that make us who we are. Our characters are no different.

If You Don't Have a Hobby


What if you don’t have hobbies? Some folks don’t. My advice: try something out. Google a list of hobbies and pick one. Or perhaps there's something you've wanted to do but just haven't gotten around to for a number of reasons. For instance ...

Too Expensive or Inconvenient


There are hobbies I wanted to indulge in but they were just a wee bit too pricey. Deep sea diving. Hang gliding. Flying.

Or perhaps your chosen hobby is too inconvenient. For instance, you might live far inland but you've always wanted to waterski.

If I want to give one of my characters these hobbies I talk to people who do deep sea dive, or hang glide, or fly, or waterski. I love doing this! I get to hear their stories AND make some new friends in the process.

Another possibility is to save up and treat yourself on a special occasion. For instance, hang gliding on your honeymoon or a significant birthday.

No Interest


Some folks don’t have an interest in taking on a hobby. And that’s fine! Though if you DO like the idea of giving your main character an interest here’s my advice, such as it is: fake it till you make it.

If you don’t really care about much—and some folks don’t—it’s more difficult to write about it.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the last few years, writing isn’t about the head, about the intellect, it’s driven by the heart. Even by the gut. It's driven by the sticky slightly disgusting messy bits inside us.

It all comes down to truth


Ultimately, it’s about truth. As Stephen King says: fiction is the truth within the lie. Sure, my protagonist doesn’t exist. Sure the world I’ve created for him was spun from my imagination. But the story is told to communicate a truth—the theme. How my characters react to each other and to the setbacks they've had, those emotions are real. True.

The Lessons We Teach


Stories teach us life lessons. They teach us how to make friends as well as how to lose them! They teach us what happens when you do the right thing.

This, of course, is less about Truth than it is about the framework of values we’ve adopted, the things we accept as being mostly true. It’s the truth about the writer, about their soul, their beliefs.



Every post I pick something I believe in and recommend it. This serves two purposes. I want to share what I like with you, and, if you click the link and buy anything over at Amazon within the next 24 hours, they put a few cents in my tip jar at no cost to you. So, if you click the link, thank you! If not, that’s okay too. I’m thrilled and honored you’ve visited my blog and read my post.

Today I'm recommending a book every writer needs if they want to submit to a traditional publishing house: Writer's Market 2018: The Most Trusted Guide to Getting Published

From the blurb:

"Want to get published and paid for your writing? Let this book guide you with thousands of publishing opportunities--including listings for book publishers, consumer and trade magazines, contests and awards, and literary agents. These listings feature contact and submission information so you can get started right away."



Photo by Nicolas Picard on Unsplash

2 comments:

  1. I have a cherished hobby undertaken decades before I started writing. But it was really all about the writing even then!
    I paint figurines and pose the best ones on my shelf in the living room. Of course they are characters and monsters from the tales I write (epic fantasy), and now that I've started writing I found on at least one occasion it was very helpful when stuck about the character to spend some time in the basement, painting the figurine. It's a way of immersing myself in the tale. I'm not any kind of expert painter but I do enjoy it- I even post the results on my blog in a series I call "It Figures".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Marvelous! I love that. Sometimes I'll try and draw my characters but I'm not very good. Fortunately that doesn't seem to matter to my muse! Thanks for your comment, it's great to hear from you again. :-)

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