Whenever I travel through a new place, there is this verve of creativity that rushes through me. There’s this rush of feeling inside of me, that makes me want to write, and write. I feel so ecstatically connected to that writer side of me in those moments. And that’s the primary job of a writer.
Right now, I am on a Shinkansen train from Kyoto to Tokyo in Japan. It’s a 2.5-hour journey. Most non-writer people take it as a big waste of time. They are going to flip through their Instagram, or watch some show on Netflix, to get through those moments.
But for a writer like me, it is a cornucopia of delights to my senses. There is so much going on. I am on a train. A moving train. I just have to comfortably sit in my seat.
And, all of the beautiful sights and scenes will move past me, at a rapid rate. Allowing me to indulge myself. I can see more of the world this way. I can know more about the world this way as well.
The Primary Job of a Writer Is to Collect Raw Material
The primary job of a writer in my opinion is to be the conduit for the muse that is always all around, waiting to transmit the stories to us. But, there is another smaller job as well.
The thing about the muse is that she or he gives us stories and creativity. But it’s not packaged up neatly with a bow. It has a lot of parts to it that are missing. These need to be massaged, or even added to.
Perhaps, you are writing a story about a woman who’s on a bullet train from Kyoto to Tokyo. Maybe because she’s going to visit a lover in Tokyo that she left behind twenty years ago. Perhaps, she was too afraid to rebel against her parents.
The story has been given to you by your muse. But you need to fill in the gaps. All of those beautiful essential details about Tokyo, and Kyoto, the Shinkansen, and Japanese culture – it all has to be filled in by you.
Some of it happens through research. That’s why Google and the Internet are such sources of delight to any writer.
But a lot of it happens from our life experiences. All writers have a granary where they store all of the different things that have happened to them or to the people around them. And when we are writing our stories, we pull from this database to fill in the gaps, so to speak.
You Never Know When You Will End Up Using The Information That’s In Your Database
No experience is therefore wasted. Every experience, no matter how long ago it happened, will end up being used by a writer.
That’s why when a writer is thrown into a situation where he has to wait for hours or days waiting for something to happen, he is fine with it. Because he’s used to waiting, of course. But also because he knows that the waiting itself will bring a myriad number of experiences into his life that he can use in order to fill up his granary.
And that granary will be pulled upon when he writes the next story that he’s working on.
For example, I’m here on this train, and I’m experiencing all of this stuff, some of it is conscious, and some of it is unconscious. All of it is being placed into my database.
And eventually, when I write a story about a dystopian society based in Tokyo, I will use all of this information that I have gathered to create that society, and even this train ride, with the passing scenery, will come into good use then.
Nothing… No Experience, Is Wasted Then For A Writer
That’s why I don’t mind waiting. I don’t mind sitting down in a cold place and watching people. Even, airport lineups fascinate me. Everything and every experience holds treasures in them, that I can use to make my novels, and writing pieces bolder and filled with delights that can entertain readers for days to come.
I love it all. I’m so grateful that I have this perspective on life.
Of course, it doesn’t mean that you need to be a writer in order to see things this way. Just because no experience is a waste for a writer, doesn’t mean you can’t apply the same kind of thinking to your non-writer life as well.
Everything that is happening to us is happening for a reason. Even the strangers that cross our path only for a few seconds on a crowded pathway are passing by for a special reason. A reason that we might never become aware of.
That’s why life is so fascinating, and that’s why I’m so excited that I get to capture some of its beauty in the words that I write.