The temperature is cooling down here in Montreal -- and I've been thinking a lot about inside/outside.
We Montrealers are moving back inside. Today, I brought in the potted geraniums from our back garden. Soon, I'll be using the dryer in the basement, not my clothesline. Once the snow comes, I'll have to put away my bicycle too. All this means, of course, less time spent outside.
Writing fiction is also a curious mix of inside/outside. Working on a longer project like a book involves a journey inside. Mostly, I love it... but sometimes, I need a boost, some positive reinforcement from outside. Today, I got a little boost when I made a quick phone call to the Kahnawake Fire Brigade. A firefighter named Cheryl answered the phone and was able to answer a question that came up while I was writing my newest book project. When I told her about the boy in my story and what he's up to, Cheryl told me, "He sounds like a really bad kid!" Hey, thanks Cheryl, both for the answer to my question -- and also for being horrified by my narrator!!
Some days though, and this is something aspiring writers need to know, there isn't much in the way of boosts from the outside world... that's when a writer needs to turn inside and find the spark that made her (or him) want to tell her (or his) story in the first place.
Too much outside (phone calls, lunch dates, errands) can get in the way of writing, too. So here's one more goal for me, and perhaps for you, too: to find the right mix of inside/outside.