A Writing Life: Read Outside The Box

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Read Outside The Box

I read.  A lot. And not just books. I read magazines, news articles, blogs, cereal boxes. You name it. I think part of it is the journalist in me that loves information, as well as a great story. But there's nothing better to me than sitting with a stack of magazines or scrolling through blogs on a lazy Saturday afternoon. Social media can be a good way to find stories and information as well. Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter are where I allow myself to scroll for a few minutes each day.

However, I discovered something recently. I was following people or companies all within the same sphere of topic. Writers, editors, publishers. All good things when you work in the field I do, but at the same time, all within the same box.

I believe that one of the best things a writer can do to spark their muse is to read outside the box.

A few months ago, I started blogging for www.societyletters.com. And I love it. It's not a site just for writers so it makes me think outside my regular world. It has also connected me with interior designers, fashion experts, and sites I wouldn't normally go seek on my own. I enjoy seeing their pictures, posts, and reading their blogs. I learn something new every time. More than once I've come away with an idea for a character's house to write into my books based on home decor I've seen, or even how a character dresses based on a fashion bloggers pictures and advice.

It gets me to read outside the box. Yes, I'm a writer so following other writers and people in the business is essential and smart. But if I'm not careful, I grow blinders. I don't see anything but that. 

Sometimes I forget the other things that interest me. I love history, science intrigues me, movies, music, sports...  There's a fascinating world out there and I want to make sure I read all about it. Who knows? It just might lead me to my next character or story. 

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