Writing Enhancements   5 comments

I think hobbies might be a bit out of vogue these days. When I was a kid, everybody had something they did to relax in the evening … besides drinking, which was and remains high on the list of Alaska hobbies. Men did wood working or auto repair. Women sewed or knitted. It wasn’t uncommon to hear that your friend’s dad played the violin for the local chamber orchestra or their mom was THE singer for the light opera theater. Some of this hobbying was a direct outgrowth of long dark winters and two television stations, but people who moved here also had hobbies, so I think it was just more common then. But judging from the exhibits (or lack thereof) in the crafts section of the Tanana Valley Fair, people don’t have hobbies like they used to.

We tend to substitute time on social media and watching television for hobbies. And, frankly, my writing was a hobby for many years that became a second career when I decided to publish a book.

So, I could say that the hobby of writing has enhanced my writing … but that would be a cop out.

My day jobs have often found a way to get me to write for free — as part of my job. Sometimes those jobs have bled over into my writing. The character of Carl in Transformation Project is a blending of several mentally ill clients I knew over the years. I’m playing with a reporter in that series who will be introduced in Objects in View; he’ll be based on some folks I’ve worked with at the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. To the extend that hiking can be called a hobby, a oft hiked trail worked its way into Mirklin Wood.

I grew up in a cooking household – my dad was a professional chef and my mother was a diner waitress. I enjoy researching food, which of course is important when writing a fantasy set in a culture that is not ours.

My husband and I play video games. When I was stuck regarding where to go next in Mirklin Wood, I got unstuck by playing an Elder Scrolls game. When you read the book, there’s an entire scene where the setting is ripped off from the game.

Pay attention for mentions of quilts in Transformation Project (Life as We Knew It is Book 1), because that is the hobby I enjoy the most besides writing, so it appears from time to time.

Truthfully, anything in a writer’s life can work its way into her writing – people, places, things, activities, history, science, conversations in the grocery story. It’s all fodder for our imaginary worlds. Meaning …

You might not want to cut me off on the highway because you could find yourself dead in my next novel. On the other hand, if you give me excellent service in a store, you might be on display as an exemplar sometime in the future.

Just remember, everything in life is fair game for a writer looking for material.

Now go check out what my fellow authors are saying about this subject.

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5 responses to “Writing Enhancements

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  1. We writers are observers of life. Nothing is ignored, and most experiences and conversations eventually find their way into a book!

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  2. As far as I’m concerned, hiking is a hobby. 🙂 Hiking is a bit different than just walking.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, especially if you live in places like you and I do, hiking requires a lot more skill than just walking. Altitude and variable temperatures, wildlife, survival skills in case you twist an ankle … here in Alaska, a big one is knowing you can’t trust your compass (true north is not magnetic north and it matters here by about 23 degrees). And because the sun is up 22 hours a day, you can’t really rely on traditional solar navigation (you have to know how to modify it), you won’t be seeing the stars until September, and GPS coverage is incomplete. But good old-fashioned orienteering works just fine, if you have the skills and know the Alaska exceptions. Because of bears you really need to carry a gun (bear spray will just anger a grizzly), and that’s another set of skills. And at anytime, regardless of the month or how hot the day might be, the temperature can suddenly drop to freezing, so you’d better be prepared. Every summer, the rescue teams have to go find some hiker who didn’t bother to learn the skills beyond walking.

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  3. I think you hit this right on the head. Hobbies have a way of wending themselves into books and opening our imaginations.

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