The best writing usually comes from personal experience. Doesn’t it? So then, how do you live an AWESOME life worth writing about?
As a travel blogger, I constantly ask myself this question. And no matter what type of writing you do, I bet you’ve asked yourself the same thing?
Here are five ways to live a life worth writing about:
1. Put down your phone
You’ll never allow serendipity to take you by the hand if you are always staring at your phone. The average American does this for 162 minutes per day. (Source) Think about all the fascinating people and situations that have passed you by while you’ve been checking Facebook or Instagram.
Instead, observe the world around you and weave these everyday experiences into something great. Cherish your moments of downtime and use them to fuel your creativity.
While at the airport a few months ago, I spotted a woman sobbing over her soup. I eventually went over and talked to her — not only making a friend, but also discovering the basis of a new story. If I’d been staring at my phone, both the story and the friendship would never have come to be.
Inspiration is all around you — as long as you keep your eyes open.
2. Do one new thing each week
You don’t have to go crazy to mix up your life. Sometimes even the simplest changes can have a dramatic effect. So, make it your goal to try one new thing a week; miniscule or gigantic, it doesn’t matter.
Resolve to go vegan for a day. To walk a different route home from work. To pay it forward by buying the next person’s drink at your favorite coffee shop. To visit a museum you’ve never been to. I tried a DIY juice cleanse once, and to this day, my account of the challenging (yet rewarding) experience remains one of my most popular posts.
Where will these little changes lead? Maybe nowhere. But, then again, maybe somewhere — which is the magic of it.
3. Try something that scares you
It’s hard to break out of your comfort zone. Why? Well, because it’s comfortable. It’s safe. You know what to expect.
But living in your routine day-in and day-out doesn’t create a lot of fodder for stories. It’s true that the best writers can pull fascinating insights from the mundane, but why not make it easier to find inspiration?
If you’re already trying new experiences each week, it’s time to kick them up a notch. Challenge yourself to do something that scares you.
Emotions are at the heart of great writing, and fear is one of the most powerful. Capturing and conquering those feelings will give you great things to write about. Though I’m afraid of heights, I often try to face my fear head on. For example, I went paragliding in Colombia — basically, I jumped off a cliff wearing a diaper attached to a kite. I later wrote an honest account of how terrified I was, and my readers loved it because they could relate to my story and my feelings.
So, think about something that scares you. Perhaps it’s as adventurous as spelunking, or as gut-wrenching as apologizing to a friend you haven’t spoken to in years. Make a list, and try to do one a month — or as many as you can muster.
4. Meet new people
People are the fabric of stories. The person you meet today could be the protagonist in your next book, or the inspiration for your next blog post. Talking with people from different backgrounds offers a new lens for viewing the world.
Though it may seem difficult — especially for introverts — there are lots of ways you can meet new people without walking up to strangers. If you’re really shy, start by creating new relationships online in Facebook groups or forums.
Use Meetup to find local writing groups, Couchsurfing to meet other adventurous souls or even dating apps if you’re single. Some of my best stories have come from dating mishaps! In fact, one of my first blogs was an anonymous account of dating in a ski town. Once I realized how much I enjoyed writing about my nutty experiences, I decided to start a blog my mom could read.
Without a doubt, traveling is one of the best ways to find inspiration. And you don’t have to travel across the world to expand your horizons; sometimes a trip to a neighboring town will do.
Travel allows you to learn new things about yourself, your destination and the world in general. You also experience the full spectrum of emotions while traveling: from excitement and joy to fear and frustration.
This barrage of insights provides an infinite amount of writing material. Recording my travel stories is how I got started writing; though it was just a personal journal, the colors, tastes and conversations of the road almost made the writing process easy. And now, even when I’m not traveling, I’m able to draw on my past experiences for inspiration.
Though living an awesome life worth writing about isn’t difficult, it does take a conscious effort.
Living this way will not only give you a constant stream of things worth writing about – it’ll give you a life worth remembering.
Share your tips for living an awesome life worth writing about in the comments.