One of the greatest joys of being a writer is that, like many art forms, it makes you pay attention to life: it focuses your eye and tunes your ear and readies your mind to receive all that each day has to offer. It also helps us to cope with life’s woes and frustrations because, as we writers say so often, ‘it’s material.’
What’s more, every time I sit down to write something, I educate myself anew. Writing is the best way I’ve found of motivating myself to learn about people and places and situations that are removed from my own experience of life – and to learn about them in a way that goes far deeper than intellectual knowing: through my characters I live a thousand lives and a thousand different worlds.
Here is a quotation from one of my favourite books, Bird By Bird, which summarises it perfectly:
One of the gifts of being a writer is that it gives you the excuse to do things, to go places and explore. Another is that writing motivates you to look closely at life, at life as it lurches by and tramps around.
Challenge: Enjoy opening yourself to the world today, to all it’s beauty and griminess and quirkiness and let this sink into your subconscious – because it is all material.