Friday, January 20, 2012

Step Away from Your Desk! by Delia Latham


Sometimes, we writers can get consumed with the characters in the fantasy worlds we create. Other activities can begin to feel like distractions and deterrents to getting our “work” done. But author Delia Latham encourages us to step away from our desks, explains why it may just be the best thing for us, and provides tips on how to accomplish it! ~ Dawn


 
Step Away from Your Desk!
by Delia Latham

Hebrews 10:25 (KJV):  Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.


Writing is a solitary occupation. It makes hermits of us, unless we take deliberate steps to prevent that outcome.

Of course, if hermitry is the life one prefers, then so be it.

Most of us, however, need interaction with other human beings—something beyond social networking sites and e-mail activity. That blending of minds and personalities breathes life into us, provides fodder for our imaginations (always a good thing for a writer!), and keeps us from becoming stale, uninteresting, unhealthy…and unproductive.

We cloister ourselves inside our offices, fingers to keyboard, rear to chair—exactly as we've been taught. We insist that it's necessary to shut out the real world in order to create fictitious ones. But in reality, a lack of contact with people and real-life situations shows up in our writing as dull, cardboard characters and lifeless storylines that will never see print.

It is possible to find that human connection without allowing our writing time to suffer. And even if it does—if we're writing three hours each day instead of four—isn't it worth it if the words we write sparkle with life and energy?

Step away from your desk and breathe new life into your writing! Here's how:


One day a week, write somewhere besides your office.

Coffee shops (or even a local McDonald's) provide a great opportunity to observe others, hear real conversation, and absorb the energy of human contact. Take your laptop along. You can write…or just make character notes. Listen in on a conversation or two. Observe the various expressions and body language of the customers. (Note: DO buy a cup of coffee, maybe even a pastry. You'll find yourself far more welcome next time you go.)

Go to the park and get some fresh air. No Wi-Fi, but admit it…you'll do more writing when you don't have access to the internet.

Writing in your local library provides a chance to get acquainted with the librarians, which might lead to a reading and/or book signing. Donate a book—they'll love you for it. 


Join a local writers group.

Check the internet or your local phone directory. Inquire at ACFW or RWA. Most of the time, you'll find a group within easy driving distance.

Can't find a group? Start one! A little ad in the newspaper or your church bulletin is sure to render some response. Even 3-5 writers who want to get together and brainstorm is a start. The more diverse your members as far as writing experience, the better. New writers are excited and eager, and that enthusiasm will make itself felt in the group. Experienced authors can be of benefit to each other and help the newbies develop their craft. 


Attend church functions.

Not just services, although those are important. Go to potlucks—they don't happen often, and they provide much-needed fellowship and activity. Join the ladies' group or the praise team. Do something that forces you away from your desk and into life.


Find a place to volunteer. 

Sometimes the best way to help yourself is to help someone else. Be a blessing…and it will come back to you, "pressed down, shaken together, and running over." (Luke 6:38)

I'm sure there are plenty of other routes to take. Let's talk about them. What keeps you from becoming a "hermit writer"?





Born and raised in Weedpatch, California, Delia Latham moved to Oklahoma in '08, making her a self-proclaimed California Okie. She loves to read and write in her country home, and gets a kick out of watching her husband play Farmer John. She's a Christian wife, mother, grandmother, sister and friend, but especially loves being a princess daughter to the King of Kings. She loves Dr. Pepper and hearing from her readers. Contact her through her website or e-mail.

Delia writes inspirational romance and women's fiction, and is currently contracted through White Rose Publishing and Vinspire Publishing.

Other places to find Delia Latham:




24 comments:

  1. I'm excited to be a guest on Seriously Write! Thank you for having me. :)

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  2. great article Delia! Of course, being a pastor's wife, I don't have much time to write at my desk because there seems to ALWAYS be something going on that cries for attention. Sometimes I'd really like to be a hermit LOL!

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    1. Bonnie! What a joy to hear from you. The duties of a pastor's wife never end, do they? And yet, you've managed to get two amazing books published...you ROCK, my friend!

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  3. Great to have you here, Delia! I found I was very productive when I wrote away from home. Something about that different setting really helped, that and being "timed." I only had two hours each session. Thanks for visiting!

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    1. Absolutely, Annette! That timer has the same effect a deadline does for me - it gets me into gear. And the change of environment just seems to awaken the senses or something. I highly recommend it.

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    2. Great article, Delia. I find that working in a coffee shop can start the adrenaline pumping, warding off drowsiness. It also keeps me focused because I have to force myself to not be distracted by the conversations going on around me. The only drawback is when I start weeping over an emotional scene. That can be embarrassing!

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    3. LOL - I'm sure that would be a bit uncomfortable! My problem is remembering not to act out body language and facial expressions to see if they work. ;)

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  4. Awesome post, Delia. Have laptop, will travel, right? One of the perks of writing. I find that I'm more productive in my office (I'm one of those people who likes things the same way!), but I always enjoy a stroll around the park or a few minutes at the mall to clear my head. Thanks for sharing some great ideas!

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    1. Dora, there are definitely times when I prefer my own space - MOST of the time, in fact. But getting out of that familiar space is a must (at least for me) every once in a while. :)

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  5. Delia, I love your ideas on 'refreshment' as writers! I find I need to 'change things up' every once in a while and try new writing tactics. It really does help. Great post - and, Annette, great blog as always. You're a blessing, ladies!! Thanks for sharing!!!

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    1. Marianne, you're always such a blessing! Thank your for stopping by. And whatever you're doing, it's working, because your books are wonderful!

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  6. Thanks for the reminder, Delia, that there is a bigger world out there than what we create in our little bubble around our computer! And that exploring that world helps us to be better writers. :-D

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    1. Dawn, thank you so much for having me on Seriously Write! I enjoyed writing this post. And I think your phrase, "exploring the world," is the key to this whole concept of stepping away from the desk. How can we write about the real world if we're always, ALWAYS living apart from it?

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  7. Delia, thanks for encouraging us to assemble and fellowship and serve. We've probably all been in that place where it was hard to say no, but the Lord always provides the people and places and ways and means to serve Him. And by being out and about, keep your writer's ears and eyes open for what can be set down later when we sit down.

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    1. Well said, LoRee! I like that last phrase: Keep your writer's ears and eyes open for what can be set down later when we sit down. :) Thanks for stopping by.

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  8. Great post, Delia! Loved the practical suggestions. It is too easy for a writer to get cloistered in his/her own little world and forget about everyone else. But, I agree, that interaction is what adds depth to our writing. Thanks so much for writing this!

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    1. It's TOO easy to become cloistered! I stepped out onto my deck at one point and realized it was the first time I'd been outside my front door in at least a week. That's not acceptable! lol

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  9. Delia,
    Thank you for so many great suggestions. We all need to hear this, so true. This message just confirms what I've been feeling in the middle of a lonely upstate winter - I need to get out more!

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    1. Isn't it the truth? Especially in Winter, when the weather itself is enough to bring on a depressive state, we need to remember to expand our boundaries, if only to maintain sanity! :)

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  10. Good suggestions, Delia.
    I have no problem getting out and meeting with others. But what God has led me to do is declare Sunday a Sabbath. No writing, computer or iphone. I think it allows me to focus on him, rest, and reset my creativity.

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    1. I'm trying to do the same thing, Patricia. I try to stay away from writing or editing on Sunday and use it as a day to rest. Most of the time, I choose something I want to read for fun and spend the afternoon with a novel I've wanted to dive into.

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    2. Me too. Unless I'm on deadline with a book (or design project), I try to keep Sundays free. God deserves that time - and so do our families.

      Reading is a great way to relax and rest, Dawn!

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