Written by Sarah Yoon
Writers don’t need to go into the world to tell their stories, do they? Just as artists are stereotyped as mentally imbalanced—Van Gogh’s ear comes up in that conversation a lot—writers are stereotyped as recluses. We type away at our desks, and, as I discussed last time, we ‘write what we know.’ When we exit the house, pasty and vitamin D deficient, we hiss at the sun.
I hope that you don’t fit this stereotype, but it’s good to remember that writing naturally isolates. It’s rarely a group effort; your ideas transfer from your mind to the page without a liaison. So here’s where we get a bit oxymoronic: stories work best when you care about and interact with your reader. At their core, narratives are a form of communication. While personal reflections encourage healthy communication, they’re pretty pointless if you don’t apply them to the world. The experiences that take us away from our writing can be frustrating—especially when all you want to do is finish your daily quota—but they enrich your writing by exposing you to new forms of storytelling.
If you want to tell stories, engage in external inspirations and enrich your creativity by consuming art. Let artists of different mediums encourage you as they communicate their stories to the world. Each film you watch, each book you read, and even that argument that you happened to overhear on the bus feeds your imagination.
When you know what is out there, you can borrow a bit of Allison Oh’s technique as a trained artist and find the negative space. For storytellers, she explains that negative space is “the brilliance of realizing that Firefly is a western and it’s a space western. Space western! What even is that? Well it wasn’t anything before is the point.”
Ask yourself: what stories are absent? You’ll only know if you get out there, so let your curiosity take the lead and explore the realm of multidisciplinary storytelling.