Writing is easily one of the most time-consuming activities a person can do. It isn’t easy crafting a world. You have more than likely spent countless hours thinking of what you are going to write before even writing. There may have been times when a family member or friend calls you out on doing nothing, but writing-related things. Hell, even my family has done it.
Growing up, my mom would tell me to stop bringing a book to read and eventually a notebook to write in. My dad, years ago while in college, suggested I get a hobby that isn’t writing or reading. Whereas I understand where they are coming from, there is a kicker. Everything you do is writing related.
So, here are five things you can do that hit two birds with one stone. If you do one or more of these things, you won’t only keep your family and friends off your back for having no interests outside of literature, you will have more to add to your world and characters.
1. Travel Somewhere
With current events as they are, travel may be difficult. But, if you have the funds and are capable in a safe way, travel is a great thing to do. You don’t even have to go far. Travel to a neighboring town or a town with a funny name. Is there a haunted location that you’ve always wanted to check out? What about that nifty restaurant two towns over? Wait, have you been wanting to visit that one museum?
Traveling is probably the most expensive thing you can do on this list, but it will make the family happy as it can become a family trip. Be sure to make mental notes while on the trip. You never know when a location, experience, or funny anecdote will appear in your work.
2. Visit a Local Cultural Landmark
Where I live, there are a lot of historical and cultural landmarks. You can drive down a busy road and find a house museum or a large sign that talks about the historical importance of the location. I’m not sure how many signs are out there in the cluster of cities I live in, but I do want to someday take the time to visit them. This is a great opportunity for you if your town has something similar.
Not only will you get to learn more about your community, but you will also have something you can use for your world. So much of world building is based on true events. Learning something new and utilizing it in your world is a great way to make the world your own. You may find something new to charge your creativity, have a new topic to tell at a work party, and have a little extra that makes your fiction that much more original.
3. Meet People Outside Your Circle
What is a fictional world without its characters? Seriously. Can you imagine reading your favorite book but it had none of the characters? Or maybe all of the characters are the same person in different skins? I’m not sure about you, but that sounds boring. A great way to help with your character development is to meet new people.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, you are probably an introvert. You prefer to be alone or with a close-knit group of friends. And that’s good. But, meeting new people can help you network, can gain readers, can also give you a new outlook in life, or give you the inspiration for a character. You don’t need to flex those awkward communication skills all the time, but if you are in a class or a tour and you see someone doing similar things, why not get to know them?
Who knows, you may find a new friend.
4. Take a Class
Speaking of classes, you can also take a class in something that you’ve always wanted to do. I love Hot Yoga. I would never have done it unless I got a class voucher from an acquaintance. Other classes you could do are paint nights or a crafting class in your local craft store. Or take up that SEO, Search Engine Optimization, certification you’ve been eyeing.
Maybe you have a character who is in knight training, but you have only the knowledge of it from watching professionals on YouTube. Well, take a HEMA, Historical European Martial Arts, class. You will learn the safety, the movements, and you will have that physical experience you can write about. Nothing is more interesting in a book than a character doing something and you experience it with them. Yes, you can imagine those things, but feeling the ache of your muscles and being able to describe them to paper helps too.
Not to mention, if you live a sedentary life, taking a class that is physical classes will help keep you in shape. I may need to sign up for HEMA or Hot Yoga again.
5. Do Something Your Character Does
In my current work, The Roadmap to Freedom Land, my main character is a goddess. She is one of the Greek muses, Polyhymnia the muse of hymns. I struggled to get into this character. I cannot imagine being a god or really a muse of any kind. So, I had to get creative for her. I needed to give her a hobby. In my case, I already knit and used that to shoot off the narrative. But, sometimes your character will have a hobby you haven’t experienced.
What better way to try something new, but also gain that knowledge than to try it out? This goes along with the taking a class thing, but whereas that one is more of a general whatever has been on your mind, this one is actively choosing to do something your character does in order to get a feel.
So, that was five different ways you can get the pesky normals off your back and still be doing something writing-related. Be safe with what you do and do your research, but most of all have fun with it.