My vacuum is a bit of a relic. I bought it sometime around 1992, and it still works. It’s got actual metal parts and still uses bags (which I have to purchase from the manufacturer), but I won’t trade it for one of the newer plastic models until it inhales its last dust bunny.
But that durability has its drawbacks: it’s heavy and can be hard to maneuver, and vacuuming the stairs can be a real workout.
Sometimes writing can be that way too. Of course there are steadfast rules to writing. There are plot formulas, and correct grammar usage, and trends in the publishing arena that a writer should be aware of to stay relevant, if a writer cares about such things. Publishers and writers need those things to create a business for themselves.
But sometimes, just sometimes, a writer needs to go beyond the formulas. Sometimes a writer needs to step away from the keyboard and get some real life experiences. Otherwise, we are just writing in a vacuum. And just like my trusty relic, our writing becomes clunky, and hard to maneuver. Writing becomes a workout.
Writing is by nature a solitary, lonely business, especially if we forget to get out of the vacuum. Remember to share life with others, not just with the voices in your head. Have conversations, not just texts. Don’t be afraid to vacuum up a lego once in a while to really shake things up. That’s when writing really comes alive.
What do you do to shake things up? How do you get out of the vacuum to make your writing better?