The world is a very large place, full of scary and dark things as U.S. citizens have been reminded of in this past week. And while I do not wish to belittle the incident, I do not wish to give it space on my site for personal reasons. Instead, I want to remind everyone that there is beauty to be found in this world. A beauty that can be discovered by anyone willing to seek it out. I have seen this beauty for myself and know how beneficial it can be.
As you can tell from my title, this post is about travel. Now, when most people hear the world “travel” they think of a sojourn to a new and exciting country with a language they cannot understand. And while that is all well and good, that is not exactly what I mean here. I have been overseas, staying in Lisbon, Portugal for a little over two weeks and it was amazing. But, that same excitement can be found without a passport and sometimes without a plane ticket at all.
Try going to a park or an arboretum or maybe even a fair. Do something you wouldn’t normally do, put your phone away and just breathe in the air, the magic of the place you are in. Sometimes, things you have seen your entire life can change without you realizing it and you will never notice unless you spare it a glance. Live up north? Try apple picking. Live in the south? Try swimming in a spring. Change yourself even if it is only for a day. Allow yourself to be free of the expectations you hold and to just grasp your experience as you live it.
Sometimes, when you are surrounded by what seems to be a brave new world it can cause a shift in your writing. What you write can become revitalized because you have a new spark. (Not to say that your work needs revitalization but a little extra never hurt anyone.) Your style, obviously stays the same, while everything you write becomes clearer to the reader. They can imagine the scene as you lay it out, they feel the emotions of the protagonist, an angst-filled antihero out for revenge. You’ll be able to write with a clearer head, maybe even getting 10,000 words in one go, if your hand doesn’t cramp up.
Traveling to a new place, even if you never actually write about what you saw or did, can help bring your work to a new height. Like any other aspect in life, sometimes you need a break in order to gain a fresh perspective and when it comes to writing, it can be doubly true. Writers work to create entire worlds within their words. A writer must not only create a believable world but it must be enticing enough to draw readers in and keep them there.
And sometimes, taking a break fills you with such emotion that you have to create something new, something filled with all the emotion and sincerity that has come with your new experience. Personally, I sat down in a beautiful arboretum once in order to help me get out of this hole I was in with a short story and the next thing you know, I have enough ideas flowing for a full-length novel. It surprised me but I enjoyed working on it so much. I enjoyed it while I was in the arboretum and after, because it reminded me of the good memories, thoughts and peace I felt when I was there. That is another good reason why it is good to take breaks, the peace and clarity stay with you long after your travelling is done. It can last for weeks or even months, it can get you through that rough chapter or that scene that cuts to abruptly, it can even help you with your working title.
So, now that you have heard my case, what is your judgement? (And yes, I am old-fashioned and still spell judgement with an [e].) Do you think that you should spend some time away from it all to relax? Do you believe it can help improve your creative flow?
Believe me, this is not just true for writers, but for all artists. Whether you sculpt or paint or live your life in a dark room. Sometimes, you need to look at the world outside of yourself just so you can come back and appreciate yours more.