We were all born here on this earth and yet we all dream of worlds far beyond it.
Be it Middle Earth, Never Land, Tatooine, or Xandar—we all want to get away. In the words of Belle, “I want much more than this provincial life! I want adventure in the great wide somewhere. I want it more than I can tell.” That’s where going on an adventure comes in. Adventure was our wild and rampant imagination as children; we created our own worlds and imaginary friends. As we grew older, that imagination has since subsided (if only slightly). Now, adventure is found in the arts, in our own creativity and ability to make things with our own hands and ideas. We have theater, movies, theme parks, literature, virtual reality—all of it so easily accessible to take us away from the life we’re living (if just for a moment.)
While travel can take us to incredible places on earth we’ve never been before and entertainment allows us to visualize one particular world, literature is something entirely different. The beauty of literature is that one person’s words can take us to entirely new worlds. More than that, what we imagine in our own dreamscape is vastly different from another reader (or even the author) and what they imagined the world to be. We may be reading the same words, but the world we come up with is unique to our own imagination.
That’s what I love so much about stories—the power of words and how they can leave such a powerful impact on us.
If you’re anything like me, you want to be able to leave an impact on someone through your own words, your own story. But if you’re really like me, you struggle finding the words to actually put down on paper.
How do people actually come up with ideas for new and beautiful world? How do these incredible authors wrangle those words and put them together to make up one of the most beautiful stories ever told? Honestly, some days I wish I knew myself. But I’ve found that both travel and experience play an integral part in being able to tell unique and original stories.
A few weeks ago, I visited Zion National Park with some friends (for the 2nd time ever!) The park is practically in my backyard and it’s ridiculous how I don’t take advantage of my close proximity to such beauty in nature. Because seriously, with such incredible scenes as this, how can you not get that spark of creativity for something new?
It’s like visiting an entirely new planet.
Taking a step into the past.
Venturing to places you’ve never been before.
There’s only so much you can see from inside your house on your TV or computer. Sure, Pinterest is full of beautiful images taken by people who have traveled to incredible places and shared those images with the rest of the world.
Sometimes it’s just never enough. (Greatest Showman anyone? Anyone?)
What about experiencing those things for yourself?
If you get anything out of this blog post, it’s that you realize the value of going outside.
You may not have money or the means to travel somewhere far away. That’s okay. Just go somewhere new in your own neighborhood. I guarantee you, there’s a bunch of places in your local community, your city, and your state that you have never been before. Go there. Grab a friend (or not) and go to someplace new, and linger for a while. Take in the moment when you’re there, think about how that place makes you feel. Consider the characters of your current novel and what they would do if they were in that same space. Think of this place and what it would look like in a different country, a different planet.
Take a picture. Write. It. Down. Make sure you do something that will help you remember those thoughts you have for later, for when you finally sit down and chug out words on a new piece of paper, so you don’t forget. (I forget all the time. Bad habit.)
Traveling is such a valuable component of our lives. Too often we get confined into our daily routine and the world we know, without ever venturing outside our homes, our route to work, never breaking out of our comfort zone and doing something new. That newness, seeing the beauty in the world, it can breathe new life into your novel. Take advantage of it. Although we are bound to Earth and our own reality, our imagination has the ability to sculpt the things we know and turn them into something more.
I love Young Adult Literature. I practically live and breathe it. Growing up, I had this dream of writing a book and being one of the youngest writers in the world publishing a New York Times Bestseller. I wrote about 3-4 novels from the time I was 11 to the time I was 18. I tried to query 2 of them (one of them twice). Out of all the queries I sent, one agent actually requested the full manuscript. Needless to say I was encouraged by the prospect. I had a foot in the door. I had successfully written a query that had grabbed an agent’s attention and I was on cloud 9! So I sent in the manuscript and waited with bated breath to hear back.
She subsequently declined.
I was discouraged to say the least. But I was also 15 years old.
Looking back on that experience and that particular story I had written, I’m actually embarrassed I sent queries out for that novel. My writing has grown immensely in the last 8 years. Not only that, in the last year I’ve seen incredible progress in my writing ability. Benjamin Franklin put it this way: “Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement and success have no meaning.”
Oh, how true that is!
At 15, I thought it only made sense to write a YA novel as a young adult. I thought it was strange that adults wrote books for kids, because a lot of books I had read (I personally felt) sometimes missed the mark on what it was actually like to be 15 and have these experiences.
What I didn’t realize at the time is that the authors had been 15 once. They’d gone through their own experiences that enabled them to write a story about it, many years or even decades later. Not only that, but through their experiences they were able to increase their ability to write and learn how to tell a better story, develop better characters, better worlds, in order to tell the story. Experience is the very foundation for their story. They found their success much later than 15 years old, but they finally were able to tell the story they wanted to tell.
While experience is synonymous with the passage of time, experience would probably better be described as important events in our life. They can be as big as a first kiss or as small as saying “Hello,” and meeting someone new.
The last year (and the last month, really) has brought about a bunch of new, crazy experiences for myself. I’ve learned new lessons, met new people from different walks of life, gone on new, crazy adventures, and begun to learn a little bit about what it feels like to love someone. Such experiences are necessary in order to become better than who we were yesterday. They teach us all sorts of things about who we are and all about this life we’re living. Those experiences breathe new life into our souls, and even more into the novels we’re writing.
Although we are bound to Earth and our own reality, our imagination has the ability to sculpt the things we know and turn them into something more.
So while our skills most definitely improve with age and time and the more we experience new things—it’s important to remember that who we were yesterday is not who we are today, and who we are today is not who we will be tomorrow. I’m not saying you’re a terrible writer because you don’t have a lot of experience or you’ve never been anywhere outside of your hometown or home state—what I am saying is that in order to be better, to really breathe new life into the novel we’re writing, you need to go outside and see new things and experience more.
It doesn’t have to be big.
It just has to be impactful enough to yourself that you will be able to put words to paper and craft a story that only you (and I mean only you) can write.
Go out on your WriteVenture and tell your story.