Virtual v. Real World

Saturday, March 02, 2013
We live in our writer’s caves because we need lots of time to think, to muse, to work, to put words on the page, to revise those words endlessly. The online marketing is easy for us to access: we can post on blogs, Facebook, Twitter and more. We can live in our cave and only talk to virtual people. And yet, what we try to portray on the page, is the real world; we are trying to reach real people.

Writers, we need to step out into the real world.

Speak. To connect with real readers, one of the best things I do is public speaking. I speak at libraries, schools, conventions, conferences or anywhere someone wants to invite me. At a Reading Conference, I learn that kids like the realistic portrayal of the albatross in my book, WISDOM, THE MIDWAY ALBATROSS. At a local Aubudon Society meeting, I listen to retired military who actually live on Midway and lived among these albatross. At the Audubon summer camp, I film kids comparing their arm-spread to an albatross’ eight-foot wingspan. The literary world collides with the real world and I see—up close and person—the impact that a book has on people.

If you can't see this video, click here.

(Photo by Darcy Pattison, c. 2013.
Click to see full size.)
Field Trips. Like school kids taking a field trip, I also go out to research, to experience, to see and hear and touch and taste and smell the vast, amazing world. Recently, I visited Blanchard Spring, AR, home of one of the largest caverns in the U.S. Around the springs, there is so much moisture that moss grows year round. However, they had just had a sleet storm earlier in the week and night temperatures were still below freezing. The bright green moss had icicles hanging everywhere, an incongruous sight. That’s what we need to get out and see and experience—the usual and the unusual, the ridiculous and the sublime. They are fodder for our writing.

Get out of your cave and your virtual world! You'll come back a stronger writer.


Darcy Pattison blogs about how-to-write at Fiction Notes and blogs about education at Follow Darcy on Pinterest.


Sioux Roslawski said...

Darcy--Your post coincides with me lamenting about how isolated people are becoming. "Face to face" seems formal to some these days, since they spend the vast majority communcating via devices, often pushing buttons instead of utilizing their vocal cords.

Yes, there is no substitution for stepping out and observing.

Unknown said...

Darcy, I couldn't agree more. I'm such a hermit by nature, I have to remind myself to get out, be with people, interact. It's good for me as a person and as a writer. I try to take my computer out to the local coffee shop at least once a week or arrange a weekly walking date with a friend or get together with a friend at least once a week-- for coffee or lunch or a margarita. Face-to-face is healthy for the soul and yes, a wonderful consequence is feeding our writing creativity!

Margo Dill said...

Hi Darcy:
I also think when writers get out and talk to readers (at speaking engagements) that it gives us a greater purpose for what we are doing. I've been doing a lot of school visits lately to promote my book for third, fourth, fifth graders--it has been a wonderful experience to see their enthusiasm and hear what is important to kids this age. It makes me want to get to my keyboard and write some more for them!

Marcia Peterson said...

It's true that getting out helps fill the well, providing more experience and inspiration for our writing. I like the idea of creating your own field trips--what fun! I'm also trying to arrange weekly coffee dates with friends lately.

Angela Mackintosh said...

Wow, that's an awesome photo, Darcy! It's so colorful it doesn't even look real. At first I thought it was an art project! LOL

I totally agree with you, and I've been getting out almost every day to experience something new. As passionate, purposeful writers, we must collect experiences and then alchemize them.

LuAnn Schindler said...

Agree, agree, agree! It's so important to get out and find something new, something that sparks our interest. And sometimes, it's tough for me since it's 17 miles to civilization!

Yet, I can walk down the dirt road by our farm and discover a whole new world. You just have to open your eyes and look!

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