Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Opportunity of Newness — Paying Attention to the World Around Us

Hello! After a few weeks off from blogging, I am back! And officially living in a new state!

Things are going well, and while there is certainly too much to talk about in terms of moving and navigating a new city and starting a new for just one blog post, things have been going well overall. And I've started writing (or actually revising) consistently just like before I moved. While I will admit that writing has not been my number one priority over the past few weeks as I prepared to move and have thus been trying to settle in. But moving provides a unique experience that can definitely grow and expand your writing if you let it.

Over the past few weeks I have seen new sights and places that I did not know before. I have started a new job and learned new processes. I have met new people and moved into a new apartment. I completely changed my life and now have to start building anew. But I've also done the little things, like figuring out where the nearest grocery store is, how to get from my house to a friend's, and what to do when you the train you need isn't running and unsure of where I am. Being in a new place, even the small things that seemed so second nature to me back in Boston now have a whole new challenge built in. Simply put: Things are foreign to me. Figuring things out is not part of daily life.

And with the challenge of figuring things out, there are often a lot of experiences and thoughts and emotions that arise. Sometimes, once we settle into our daily routines and feel comfortable in our surroundings, a lot of these feelings tend to dissipate. Things like stress and worry and vulnerability and amazement aren't always as significant in the day to day. You know how to solve a problem. You know where you are going and how to get there. But being the pre-comfortable, shall we say uncertain, state affords a lot of opportunities as a writer.

As writers, we often create situations that require imagination. We build worlds and make up characters and create conflicts and solve problems. And while imagination and creativity are extremely important, drawing from our own reserve of life experience is equally as important. And the more life experiences we have, the more we can draw from ourselves.

This is in no way to say that moving is necessary for everyone or that we can't write about things we've never experienced ourselves. But I do think that as writers, we do want to keep our eyes and ears open. We want to absorb as much as we can from the world around us to inform and better our writing. And when dropped into new situations, whether hours away or in our very own neighborhood, we want to pay attention. To seize the opportunity and take in the emotions and sights and people and newness, and later transform it into a detail or plot twist or character trait that will enhance our writing.

Perhaps it's not actually seeing something and then rushing home to start a new idea, or incorporate it into your story, but rather it might just be tucking it away in your mind for later, or recognizing an emotion or conflict or feeling hidden within the scene you just witnessed. But being aware of newness, and the many ideas and opportunities it can provide, is important for all of us, everyday. Moving has reminded me of this, and I hope that New York brings me many ideas and makes me a better writer.

1 comment:

  1. Hi "B" :) of best, bold, beautiful "B" words come to mind when thinking of you including "B"log which totally enjoyed reading especially sentence about "being aware of new" ... inspired by your pervasive argument, imagery,trust not easily convinced :) only am by your crafty or new NYC perspective. Well done "B"! Auntie "N" nice, no nonsense, ready to live New. Thank you for your post.