But do you have a life outside of writing? Even beyond your “real job” if you’re otherwise employed? Anything that would come even close to being called living?
If you’ve been in the writing business for any length of time, you can’t have missed the old writer’s adage (or is that “adage for old writers” ;>)): Write what you know. Or its addendum, Write what you want to know.
But if your main “hobby” is surfing the 'Net or perfecting your skills at typing bon mots with your thumbs, baby, you aren’t really living. And real life--the day-to-day experiences and adventures that make us who we are--is where some of the best story ideas come from. I mean, how many successful romance novels feature a heroine who sits at a computer all day long? How, pray tell, is she going to meet her hero? (And don’t tell me on an Internet dating service or in the comment section of her favorite blog.)
An amazing and inspiring man spoke at our ACFW chapter meeting on Saturday. Chuck Sasser, author of God in the Foxhole and more than 50 other published books and something like 3000 magazine articles, told us his childhood goal was to “live many lives and write about them.”
And he’s done just that! According to his Website bio, Chuck has “solo-canoed across the Yukon; sailed the Caribbean; motorbiked across the continent; rode camels in the Egyptian desert; floated the Amazon River; dived for pirate treasure; rode horses across Alaska; motorcycled Europe; climbed Mount Rainier; ran with the bulls in Spain; chased wild mustangs...” and a whole lot more!
We may not be diving for pirate treasure or running with the bulls, but all the Seekers are "living out loud" and loving it! Lest you think we're just soaking up the island sun while we pound out our spectacular prose, here are a few examples of what we've been up to:
Mary Connealy enjoys boating with her family on the Missouri River. She also has a lot of, um, interesting stuff happen around the farm. If you need to be convinced, read a few of her posts over at Petticoats and Pistols. (That's Mary on the right, hiding behind the boat.)
For Ruth Logan Herne, life in the kitchen is part and parcel, whether at the bakery making gorgeous cakes and sumptuous desserts for the betterment of mankind, or prepping for Bethy's wedding like in this pic. Ruthy also raises the cutest puppies! You can see pix here.
Janet Dean rubber stamps greeting cards and enjoys the fellowship with her stamper friends. She says, “Stamping reminds me that anything worth doing takes time and effort and all is not lost if I don't get it right the first time.” She also golfs and spends lots of time enjoying her grandkids. (That's Janet lookin' glam in the zebra-striped top.)
Sandra Leesmith RVs all over the U.S. She recently visited Yellowstone, and last we heard, she's somewhere in Washington State about now. Here’s a snap of Sandra with Glynna Kaye. Glynna lives a busy life in Arizona amidst some of the most beautiful scenery in the US.
Audra Harders lives the ranching life! She’s active with her local 4-H club and is 4-H secretary at the County Extension Office. Here’s a shot of her old goat! (Sorry, Audra, got this from the Seekerville archives since I didn't hear from you before uploading today's post.)
Cheryl Wyatt has been busy recently assisting neighbors with storm cleanup, dragging downed limbs and the like. “And cleaning up after that strange, epic inland hurricane which contained four tornadoes...or should I call it a hurrinado?” Is this fiction fodder or what???
Debby Giusti holds a birthday party every year for a friend from church who was injured in a terrible automobile accident a number of years ago and is paralyzed from her neck down. They celebrated last week with presents and a cake. Debby says, “I'm always inspired by her courage and optimism. My problems seem petty in comparison.” Here's Debby (left) with friends Pat Rosenbach, Terri Clark, and Joan Rorabaugh celebrating Jeanna Sugg's birthday.
Myra Johnson (that’s me!) began horseback riding lessons in her late forties and even competed in a dressage schooling show! She and her hubby volunteered with a therapeutic riding center before leaving the Houston area and hope to get involved with a similar program one day soon.
Pam Hillman works full-time, serves as ACFW treasurer, and is learning how to be a long-distance mom to a son in the military. As a pastor's wife and busy mom, Missy Tippens is on the go pretty much nonstop! The other Seekers--Camy Tang, Tina Russo, Cara Slaughter, Julie Lessman--have plenty keeping them engaged with life as well--just ask them!
What’s the most interesting thing you do to stay active and involved? Have you found ways to work those experiences into your manuscripts?
To paraphrase Chuck Sasser, get involved with life, wherever your interests are, and draw on all of it as ideas for your writing.
Do things. Don’t just watch other people do things!