1. NorthernLights

    NorthernLights New Member

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    What non-writing activities do you feel improve your writing?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by NorthernLights, Sep 5, 2015.

    Besides reading.

    Doesn't have to be on a one-to-one level, as in the amount of time spent (gardening) proportionally improves writing.

    Your activity could be conversation for example. Or it could be listening to music. I'm interested in hearing what others have to say, since I think people have many outlets which directly or indirectly affect their writing. And I think there is a ton of value in sharing our insights.

    For me, I've been playing a ton of online poker lately. Random? Yes. But related? I think so. I've made exponentially more money in poker than I have in writing (anything divided by zero is still zero, right?) and I definitely feel the effects on my writing. The game, I find, helps me with my logic. And I've always been interested in poker though I've mostly lost money, but since watching training videos online I feel that I've improved my thought/logic/reasoning, whatever you want to call it. Writing, for me, is simply thought, and poker has improved my thought. So right now it's poker for me.

    What non-writing activities improve your writing? And how so? Any thoughts are appreciated.
     
  2. D-Doc

    D-Doc Active Member

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    Going out and doing wild things, having adventures, etc. Also if you're into action stories I suggest taking up a martial art as a hobby.

    Exploring and traveling to new places. Having interesting but dangerous jobs. I know many of these things aren't always feasible, but they are (coupled with plenty of reading and research) the absolute best activities a person can do to improve his work (in my opinion). It's much harder to write about the things that induce extreme emotions (and the things most people want to read about) if you haven't experienced them yourself. Granted, few of us have ever killed someone or saved the world, etc. but the more experiences you have the more able you'll be to portray these things.

    I've been involved in/seen many things that were dangerous or even stupid, and many of those experiences are invaluable to me as a writer, though I've also been lucky a few times and other times have dealt with shitty consequences. I think it's good for a writer to take risks and step outside his comfort zone every so often. Be careful of refusing opportunities...things that sound neat but that you might not want to do because you'd rather relax or go eat or something. Some of those could turn into excellent sources of inspiration and memories that you'll cherish until you're old, or at least look back on and think, "Damn, that was crazy."
     
  3. Aaron DC

    Aaron DC Contributor Contributor

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    Everything helps. Because writing is describing life and the bits that are not fantasy, the mundane of smiling wanly and talking to someone and moving around can best be written about by those who have done it. But more than that, those who can do it and then recall doing it, and how it flowed, naturally, or what caused it to be interrupted and stilted.

    I see patterns everywhere. I think everything in life is an opportunity to develop your WIP concept and writing ability.
     
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  4. OurJud

    OurJud Contributor Contributor

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    Reading above anything else, but as you've asked us to exclude this, I'll have to say nothing.
     
  5. EdFromNY

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    My nonwriting activities including walking, cooking, music (playing and listening) and photography. Walking clears the mind and allows me to focus on any one problem at a time, and the other activities allow me to be creative in varying ways while taking a break from writing.
     
  6. Reilley Turner

    Reilley Turner Active Member

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    I have various non-writing activities so, let's start!
    • Playing Guitar
      • Acoustic: I find it helps be more "down to earth" afterwards because it's sound. (I don't know why :p)
      • Electric: It helps me exert whatever feelings I am feeling at the moment, be it anger, excitement or happiness.
    • Video games
      • Terraria: It helps me create pretty much anything I want in a 2D environment.
      • Minecraft: Same as above, but in 3D.
      • Legend of Zelda: Allows me to immerse myself if a world where I can do what ever I want, be Bombing Dondogos or making Ganondorf spit up green blood.
      • Super Smash Bros: Same as above, but also allows me to exert my anger in a kinda-sorta productive manner.
    (Will add more as I remember more)
     
  7. AlcoholicWolf

    AlcoholicWolf Senior Member

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    Music is sure the best thing for inspiration; but so is delving into the past. All the best stories have already been performed by real people.
     
  8. Aaron DC

    Aaron DC Contributor Contributor

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    A lot of my inspiration happens in the car when I make a regular trip to a friend's place :D It's only 6 minutes or so but I have had more than a few eureka moments during that trip.
     
  9. Foxe

    Foxe Active Member

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    Leaving or being left by a significant other always sparked the deepest thoughts, most significant introspection, and brought up numerous questions about about life. A writer's (and especially a poet's) most fruitful tree.

    Do I recommend it? No, but also yes.
     
  10. Adenosine Triphosphate

    Adenosine Triphosphate Old Scratch Contributor

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    Talking to people.
     
  11. Wreybies

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Go running or do yard-work. It's amazing the resources you free up when you get out of your mind and into your body. The most insane trains of thought come to me during that time. Most of it is just bonkers, but not unlike the way runway fashion may not actually be wearable in the real world, a version of it, something inspired by it, may have practical application.
     
  12. JosephMarch

    JosephMarch Active Member

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    Dreaming (I get lots of ideas from them)

    Paying attention--noticing details in things in order to describe them later
     
  13. maydaytea

    maydaytea New Member

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    Video games or tv shows can sometimes spark an idea, either to solve a problem in an existing story or creates the basis for a new one. I'm not talking about taking the theme of the show and reworking it. Sometimes something happens and I'm sitting there thinking, "well what if it had happened like this, and what if it was this type of person instead, etc."

    When I'm stuck I like to go for a drive and listen to the radio and I end up getting all caught up daydreaming and will usually have an idea.
     
  14. GuardianWynn

    GuardianWynn Contributor Contributor

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    Music helps me get inside a characters head emotionally. This in turn helps me think of how they would react or write in there voice easier.
     
  15. Mumble Bee

    Mumble Bee Custom Title. Contributor

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    Music: I play piano. I'm god-awful at the thing, but it makes me feel better. I'm even considerate enough not to force other people to listen to it like those horrible people who think you want to see pictures of their vacation or accept game requests about their farm.

    Video games: Mostly mindless ones where a simple formula of attack, if pulled off correctly, can destroy any enemy. The repeditiveness helps me stay focused, something my mind desperately needs, and afterwards I feel motivated to get things done.

    Problem Solving: This one is at work, i'm in a position to where no one really bothers me unless they have a situation they're either incapable or unwilling to make happen. I like to find a way to convince this person not only of a way for the job to get done easily, but that it's actually what they would like to do, and if possible eliminate any issues like this in the future. Whenever I get in to this mode, known as
    Reaganing to the 30 rock crowd, its really easy to transition into writing.

    Exercising: I can either run half another mile or write 200 words... let me go get my pen.
     
  16. nippy818

    nippy818 Active Member

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    I work on cars, its my day job, and its relatively relaxing. Shooting, I spend a good amount of time at the range, or in the mountains, building rockets, vape mods, gaming computers. I really like to tinker, keeps my brain on edge and always working
     
  17. RevGeo

    RevGeo Member

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    Drinking bourbon, smoking weed, fly fishing, elk hunting and walking around and thinking.
     
  18. minstrel

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Playing guitar. When I have my Strat in my hands and something on the stereo for a rhythm track, I disappear into my own imagination. I just start soloing with my eyes closed and I get deep into myself, and that helps a lot.

    This one may sound a bit weird, but I like to do math problems. I have a bunch of books on differential equations and multivariable calculus, and working through problem sets in these books is so dry, so arid, so placid, that it's almost like meditation. It cleans out my mind. The concerns of the day go away and I find myself better able to focus. This helps my writing immensely, I think. Whenever I get stuck, or if I can't get started, I take a half hour or an hour and do some math. More often than not, it helps.
     
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  19. jannert

    jannert Member Supporter Contributor

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    1) walking - as long as I'm walking someplace familiar (and I don't need to pay a lot of attention to where I'm going) my brain goes into creative gear. That's where most of my problem-solving and eureka moments occur. I always carry a notebook and pen to record those moments.

    2) riding a bus - the longer the journey the better. I do a lot of daydreaming and visioning scenes on a bus. I'm on my own, nobody interrupts me, and the flow of scenery outside the window gets my brain going. I always carry a notebook and pen to jot down anything that occurs to me.

    3) listening to music - sometimes certain music allows me to strongly visualise a scene (but it's always instrumental music, never songs). I find if I plug in my iPod while riding the bus, I get double the effect—plus it drowns out inane conversations people around me are having on their mobile phones ...a real hazard on modern buses. I also listen to music at home, sometimes, prior to a writing session. Usually not WHILE I'm writing though, unless I'm drowning out distractions like ice cream vans.
     
  20. Augusto

    Augusto Active Member

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    Lol, I cannot believe nobody said it... perhaps I'm alone?

    I like smoking during pauses and I think it helps me to relax, to clear my mind and to organize/evaluate my ideas. After a couple of cigars, when I return, I usually have a clear picture of what I want to do.
     
  21. The Mad Regent

    The Mad Regent Senior Member

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    Masturbation.
     
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  22. Augusto

    Augusto Active Member

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    That too... readers usually ignore the ammount of semen we, male writers, needed to produce in order to finish the book they hold in their hands!
     
  23. nippy818

    nippy818 Active Member

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    lol, i had to give up tobacco. now i only vape. but i can dude it at my computer lol
     
  24. Augusto

    Augusto Active Member

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    I wanna try that out. My lungs are suffering because of my "pauses".
     
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  25. Selbbin

    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    International espionage. It's helped with my understanding of embroidery across cultures.
     
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