On Monday, July 4th, I came out of my writer’s cave to join the crowd lining the town streets and to watch our Independence Day Parade. My husband and I are at the stage where we look for new things to do. We have little to shop for and have been to most of the tourist sites around, so fairs and festivals often are a free and fun excuse to leave the house. Otherwise, it’s difficult to get me to emerge from my writing cave.
It’s easy to forget about the outside world when we’re immersed in our story, thinking up blog topics, or working on promo for the next release. Time can slip by. We have to remind ourselves to step out and smell the flowers, to watch the clouds scud by, and to cherish that moment as it will never come again. Imagining people and places in our minds is no substitute for the real thing, but it’s natural for writers to become isolated when we’re more at home with our characters than the outside world. But once these hours at our desks crawl past, we can never experience them again.
Good friends will call and coax us out of our caves to meet them for lunch or a coffee break. Otherwise, we have to force ourselves to get out of the house, to make a play date, to emerge into society. Usually, this short break recharges our creative batteries and we return to the computer refreshed. At the parade, I remembered how exhilarating it can be watching the motorcycle police zoom around on their vehicles, the firemen cruising past in their monstrous red trucks with sirens blaring, the legions of veterans with their funny hats drive by. Children scrambled for candy tossed onto the swales by parade drivers while families held tailgate parties, watching the parade from the back ends of their vans and SUVs. The steamy humidity made us all sweat and our skin itch, but we didn’t notice the discomfort. It was a joyous moment of feeling alive, of being united in our human experience.
Really, we full-time writers should get out more often. What do you do to push yourself out the door?