Hey Writers: How Varied Are Your Interests?

Some people have commented that I’m a little out of the ordinary. As a writer, I think that is to my advantage. Writers are a strange breed – I’m starting to think.

I’ve had some people call me a renaissance man. I take that as a high compliment whether it’s true or not. But I’m convinced that any writer who puts him or herself into a varied type of activities will become a better writer. If we want to write about the scope of human experience, we have to understand a wide swath of that experience. That’s why I’m glad I’m a little different. Consider this:

  • I’m a history teacher who majored in English.
  • I’m a drama teacher who is primarily a history teacher.
  • I’m a writer of novels and plays.
  • I write both short plays and full-length plays.
  • I’m a softball coach.
  • I love to cook, but I don’t like using recipes.
  • I’ve never acted but I teach people how to act.
  • I love politics and economics but I’ve never had a course in either.
  • I’m fascinated with technology and computing.
  • I’m not an artist, but I love creating things with photoshop. Self-taught. (still not very good.)
  • I’m not a musician, but I taught myself enough chords on the guitar that has helped me become a writer of musicals.
  • Yes, I love musicals even though I’m a man.
  • I’m also interested in religion and culture.
  • I’m a news junkie, reading everything from hard news to soft puff pieces.

As I write, I look back on all of these experiences, and I realize that each and every one of them help me become a better writer. The wider the net, the greater chance that a particular idea or scene will cement itself in my mind.

Out of all of my interests, history is probably the one that has influenced my writing the most. It has grounded my writing in the real, the here and now, the tangible, which helps me build realistic and gripping human stories. Or at least that is my goal.

So what about you, writer?  Have you expanded your interests?

It is both helpful and advisable for you to do so.

It will widen your scope and make your writing more interesting.



2 responses to “Hey Writers: How Varied Are Your Interests?”

  1. As an undergraduate I studied zoology, and though I’ve not used the degree for much, I would do it again. When I applied to grad school in a creative writing program, I lamented my strange degree choice to my advisor who shrugged and wisely said, “So now you have something to write about.”

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