My wife is often asked by aspiring writers how they can improve their writing. They both already know the usual advice, and good advice it is – write more, read more, etc. – but she very often tells them to live a full life.
This is the best advice of all, certainly. Travel, that’s obvious. Read non-fiction, listen to others’ tales, love fully those who you are closest to. These are all things of a rich life. But what if you are fully entrenched in the rut?
One of the reasons, I believe, that I am not as prolific as other writers is that I neglected to properly accumulate activity memories while I could, while I was younger. I saw what I saw, and experienced what I experienced, and I draw on it now while writing – but it’s a small pool.
Those who are best at what they do often start exceptionally early. There’s a video of Tiger Woods on the Bob Hope show putting at age two. Two!
I started writing early enough, albeit inconsistently, but I spent more time playing video games than expanding my horizons. Growing up poor contributed to this, but I’m not sure I can blame my apathy for that. My desire to go be do is currently brimming, so I don’t feel like it’s a personality thing. More of an availability thing.
Growing up, I merely existed. I was a passive character. And now I’m 42 and my job is consuming and travel is difficult and I’m doing it again. But now I can analyze and ask myself if I’m simply making excuses, if that’s just me, or if I can break free and observe and b r e a t h e.
So when my wife says, live a full life, she’s really telling us to fill our cups. Take part in our fellow companions’ lives, our settings, our feelings, and the world around us. We can start at any time, as long as we turn on the mechanism.
Do whatever you can to lead a full life, a rich life. Be part of the action, not the scenery.
Exist like crazy.