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  • Writer's pictureJabe Stafford

Write Good: Wander For Writing

Write Good: An Absurd Storytelling And Adventure Blog

The Benefits Of Wandering

Writing means getting away from the keyboard and doing nothing of the sort.

Getting out INTO the places that resemble scenes from the stories we’re writing has an energy to it. Memories are so closely tied to writing that going out and making a lot of memories can benefit your ability to immerse readers in your stories. Places around town, vacation spots, parks, those and many other places have a feel to them if you take the time to look around and sense it…and you can channel those into your writing. Just THINKING of your characters when you go anywhere can get you curious about what they’d do on this highway, or in this bar, or inside this stadium. Wandering is healthy for both you and the writing, so get out and wander (after reading this blog, of course.)

Memories. I’m talking’ about memories. Yes I just sorta-quoted that movie. Wonder why it’s easier to write a scene that takes place somewhere you’ve already been? Because all 5 of your senses have something to remember about that place. The smell. The lighting. Every temperature change as the wind or the fans blow. Memories come to your fingertips and flow into the keyboard a whole lot faster than stuff you have to manually assemble and improvise. For me, the strongest memories are concerts, comedic moments, gaming stories, and writing retreats held somewhere besides at-home weekends or local libraries. Places where there are PEOPLE to connect to the experience. Get those memories flowing and your characters will burst to life even more because you remember being immersed in those moments.

Every day you stay in the house stuck at the keyboard is a day you don’t experience a place and everything it has to offer. A morning or evening walk puts you in a place — the streets outdoors. A visit to a friend puts you in a place — either their residence or a bar or store you’re meeting up at. Even the places you remember being that you didn’t like — smelly gas station restrooms, or stuffy airports — trigger feelings and senses you can weave into your writing. Most of the houses my characters enter are based on houses I’ve been in before. Same goes with apartments, bars, and buildings in general. The ones that stand out the most get saved in the ol’ noggin drive for later use in a beloved (or straight-up evil) character’s story. It’s all wandering-based writing fuel.

What’s the most boring part of your day? The most common part? The most dadgum-it-why-do-I-have-to-be-here part? Slow yourself down when you find yourself in these parts of the day and imagine your characters doing things within this scene you’re standing in.

Stuck at work? Your main character rushes out the doors and you watch him or her crossing the parking lot to your car, taking off in it, and facing the bad guy (or meeting their lover).

Same bland old gym three times a week? Your villain’s on the treadmill next to yours, getting better cardio so they can catch your protagonist next time a chase ensues.

Imagining your characters in the real-life stuff you do each day can spark SO many ideas! That’s how I came up with stories like The Reaper’s Replacement (demon bodyguard getting stronger working out + enjoying time with angel friends at the bar after winning a fight).

Wander! Have fun! Share the space you’re in with your characters. That’ll help ‘em come to your side when you are at the keyboard. Because you’ll have memories together. You’ve gone places together. You wanted them with you even in the boring, scary, or tedious places in your life.

Good luck writing, my friends.

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