Thursday, May 1, 2014

Delia Latham: Step AWAY from Your Desk!

Hebrews 10:25 (KJV):  Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Writing is a solitary occupation. It makes hermits of us, unless we take deliberate steps to prevent that outcome.

Of course, if hermitry is the life one prefers, then so be it.

Most of us, however, need interaction with other human beings—something beyond social networking sites and e-mail activity. That blending of minds and personalities breathes life into us, provides fodder for our imaginations (always a good thing for a writer!), and keeps us from becoming stale, uninteresting, unhealthy…and unproductive.

We cloister ourselves inside our offices, fingers to keyboard, rear to chair—exactly as we've been taught. We insist that it's necessary to shut out the real world in order to create fictitious ones. But in reality, a lack of contact with people and real-life situations shows up in our writing as dull, cardboard characters and lifeless storylines that will never see print.

It is possible to find that human connection without allowing our writing time to suffer. And even if it does—if we're writing three hours each day instead of four—isn't it worth it if the words we write sparkle with life and energy?

Step away from your desk and breathe new life into your writing! Here's how:

One day a week, write somewhere besides your office.

Coffee shops (or even a local McDonald's) provide a great opportunity to observe others, hear real conversation, and absorb the energy of human contact. Take your laptop along. You can write…or just make character notes. Listen in on a conversation or two. Observe the various expressions and body language of the customers. (Note: DO buy a cup of coffee, maybe even a pastry. You'll find yourself far more welcome next time you go.)

Go to the park and get some fresh air. No Wi-Fi, but admit it…you'll do more writing when you don't have access to the internet.

Writing in your local library provides a chance to get acquainted with the librarians, which might lead to a reading and/or book signing. Donate a book—they'll love you for it.

Join a local writers group.

Check the internet or your local phone directory. Inquire at ACFW or RWA. Most of the time, you'll find a group within easy driving distance.

Can't find a group? Start one! A little ad in the newspaper or your church bulletin is sure to render some response. Even 3-5 writers who want to get together and brainstorm is a start. The more diverse your members as far as writing experience, the better. New writers are excited and eager, and that enthusiasm will make itself felt in the group. Experienced authors can be of benefit to each other and help the newbies develop their craft.

Attend church functions.

Not just services, although those are important. Go to potlucks—they don't happen often, and they provide much-needed fellowship and activity. Join the ladies' group or the praise team. Do something that forces you away from your desk and into life.

Find a place to volunteer.

Sometimes the best way to help yourself is to help someone else. Be a blessing…and it will come back to you, "pressed down, shaken together, and running over." (Luke 6:38)

I'm sure there are plenty of other routes to take. Let's talk about them. What keeps you from becoming a "hermit writer"?

Delia Latham
(c) 2012

Love in the Wings
(Heart's Haven Easter Collection, Book 4)

Church secretary and praise team leader, Aria Robbins isn't happy when she has to work with the new youth minister. She also has to grin and bear it when he moves into the cottage next to hers at Heart's Haven...but she doesn't have to like him. Truth is, she'd be much happier if Corbin Bishop would take his charm and his big, fancy ideas right back to Austin where he belongs.

When a spiritual attack on Angel Falls lands Aria and Corbin on the battlefront as part of a team of prayer Warriors in God's Service (WINGS), they must fight for their town, their church, and their pastor, and Aria sees Corbin in a whole new light.

But emotional scars from an unspeakable childhood have distorted Corbin's acceptance of certain Scriptural truths, and Aria won't trust her heart in the hands of a man whose faith is unsure. Aria wraps her prayer wings around him tightly. Will Corbin finally trust God to heal his soul?

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Feeling out of touch? Producing lackluster writing? Step away from your desk!  

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