Being a writer means, first and foremost, being a person who lives fully. We have so many media images of writers who sit in front of computers or typewriters all day banging out words, we come to think of writers as cerebral, indoorsy people who need do little else. And it’s true to some extent–sitting down and writing all day is what a dutiful writer does in the midst of a project. But without some stretches in between, some times in which we experience the real world outside our own minds, most of us will have very little of interest to say on the page.
To be a good writer, we have to be curious about everything, hungry to learn, eager to experience full, rich lives. I have to admit this is something I’ve always struggled with. I hate taking time away from regular writing, but I’ve found as I get older that the more I become a rich-in-experiences person outside my writing life, the more I have to say when I do write.
The past few years in which I’ve written very little have been a time of filling up on experiences, and in spite of my utter panic about not writing “enough,” have ultimately made me a writer I never could have been if I’d kept slogging away and forcing myself to write on a nearly empty tank of experiences.