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5 Ways to Start Living an Awesome Life Worth Writing About

Note: This is a guest post by Susan Shain (@Susan_Shain), she is a travel blogger and freelance writer who contributes to The Write Life, a website that helps writers make a living from their craft. You can sign up for their newsletter here.

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?

How to Live a Life Worth Writing About

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.

5. Travel

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.

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  • Krithika Rangarajan

    I ENJOYED your article, Susan #HUGSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

    I plan to visit my parents in Maryland for my mum’s birthday. But instead of flying, I thought, “Why not drive 11 hours with my puppy?!” LOL – barring to Target, Walmart, the library next door or my gym, I have NEVER traveled alone, so this is going to be a FANTABULOUS experience! LOL

    Of course, I am already coming up with creative excuses to get out of this silly idea, but let’s see how long my determination holds up 😉

    Thanks again
    Kitto

    • http://traveljunkette.com/ Susan Shain

      Thanks, Kitto — hugs right back at ya! I think your trip with your puppy sounds like it’ll be a fantastic adventure. Do it! Traveling alone is always scary at first, but I usually find it to be a pretty transformative experience. You’ll grow and learn new things about yourself — which makes for tons of writing material!

  • Ginger Harrington

    I particularly like this one: Do one new thing each week. This resonates in a really doable way.

    • http://traveljunkette.com/ Susan Shain

      Great, Ginger! Any ideas for what new thing you’re going to try this week?

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  • Julie

    What a fantastic post. I also like ‘Do a new thing each week’ and I’d like to say to Krithika; Drive to Maryland, your puppy would love it, and imagine what you could do next 🙂

    • http://traveljunkette.com/ Susan Shain

      Thanks, Julie! Glad you enjoyed it.

  • http://www.boomeresque.com/ Suzanne Fluhr (JustOneBoomer)

    I’m a reserved introvert, but I force myself to join groups and usually end up meeting people I enjoy. As long as I can get some alone time to recharge, forcing myself out of my comfort zone usually ends well. I agree that experiences that are bad at the time can make for excellent blog fodder—-although you might get a few strange looks when you ask someone to take your photo in a hospital emergency room.

    • http://traveljunkette.com/ Susan Shain

      Haha, Suzanne! So true. I haven’t had any photos in a hospital emergency room (knock on wood), but I do have some photos from the time I broke my finger on the side of a Nicaraguan volcano. Really should write about that…

  • http://www.leonardotrait.com/ Angie Dixon

    Thank you, Susan.

    I’m an extreme introvert, though I can pretend to be an extrovert in public, for a short time. I don’t enjoy travel. But what I do enjoy is putting down the phone and watching people. In fact, a lot of the time when I’m out somewhere and holding my phone, I’m either using it as camouflage for people-watching or making notes about something I saw or heard. I recently joined a book club. Rather, the friend who started the book club told me I had joined it. I’ve met some fascinating people I would love to know better, including two women from Argentina, one from France and three in their 70s who have to have some interesting stories.

    • http://traveljunkette.com/ Susan Shain

      You’re welcome, Angie! People watching is the best, isn’t it? A book club also sounds so fun — that’s something I’d love to do. I’m sure you’re going to get some inspiration from the new ladies in your group!

  • http://www.jonstallings.com/ Jon Stallings

    Great post Susan we really do need to remove the distractions, take chances to enjoy a great life & become better writers.

    • http://traveljunkette.com/ Susan Shain

      Love that, Jon! “Take chances to enjoy a great life & become better writers” — AMEN.

  • http://www.annbevans.com/ Ann Bevans

    Thanks for this post. It’s common sense, but it’s so easy to get stuck in a rut! Very timely for me.

    • http://traveljunkette.com/ Susan Shain

      Glad you enjoyed it, Ann! Funny how some blog posts seem to appear serendipitously…

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  • HP van Duuuren

    Thanks for your post, one of the tips that I can share with you is having a look blog(s) like for example http://hpshappytravel.blogspot.nl/ 🙂