Writing Tip

Placeholder ImageFinding the Real in the Routine

In my last post, I wrote that writers should seek real experiences when it’s relatively safe and practical.  But if you have a job, or a family, or school, or a tight budget, or all of the above, you may think you can’t break out of your daily routine.

First, don’t dismiss your daily routine.  You may have a rich source of inspriation there if you look at it objectively, as if you were studying someone else’s life

I worked in public libraries for over ten years.  That first-hand experience will give my writing authenticity if I use a public library as a setting.  It gave me an idea for the set-up for a mystery.  A regular patron of a public library commits suicide.  A librarian who served this patron is suspicious because she knows the man came in the day before his suicide and checked out books he had specially ordered from another library.  If he was planning to kill himself, why would he bother to check out library books?Placeholder Image

Second, you can make small changes to your routine that may lead to big inspirations. On your way home from work or school, take a different route.  I went to visit my parents over the holidays and drove around my hometown, looking at Christmas lights.  I deliberately took roads I didn’t remember ever driving on before.  And I found some very creepy settings I didn’t even know existed in my little hometown.

It can be very hard to break from your routine.  I discovered that when I took an unknown route home from a store.  I had a lot do to and I didn’t know how long this new route might take.  I had to fight against a very strong instinct to get home NOW.  I was so programmed to get my work done quickly and efficiently that I felt uncomfortable taking extra time to do something different.

Take the time to make small changes.  You can’t tell what you might discover.

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