by Kiirsi Hellewell
Due to an unplanned camping trip in Idaho this weekend, I missed my scheduled post yesterday. I’m currently surrounded by camping gear and mounds of laundry so this is going to be short.
A couple of months back I did a project with my kids where we made quill pens. We also made our own ink out of berry juice. I was very surprised to find how thrilling the whole experience was—taking something I’d only ever read about in books but was used by everyone hundreds of years ago, and making it ourselves. It was amazing.
Sunday night we camped at Lake Cleveland near Burley, Idaho. We were in a small valley but at nearly 8,000 feet elevation, we had an incredible view—especially at night. I stood outside the tent, looking at the stars, and thought, I hope I never forget what this looks and feels like.
As I thought about these events yesterday, I realized again what I always tell my kids…you don’t really know what something is like until you do it. We could read about quill pen usage and making all day but until we actually made them ourselves, never really experience what it’s like to use them. Likewise, you can read camping books/novels but until you actually try it…having to huddle with the kids under all the blankets you brought to stay warm, and listen to the wind rattling the tent, wondering if it’s going to snap the poles any minute…you won’t truly experience it.
I’m not saying that good research can’t help you write awesome books. Writers do it all the time, especially with historical novels. They’re quite believable when done well. I’m just saying that it helps to experience as much of life as you can and the more experiences you have in different ways, the more your writing will be enhanced.
So I’m leaving you a challenge…this week/month, choose something new and give it a try. Add to your life experiences. Take pictures, write about it, or just take a quiet moment and store it up in your memory. Go and do!