Writers Abroad Blog
Step Away from the Desk
Posted by Laura Besley

I love the autumn colours. Walking around at the moment I often stop and look at the trees, or a few scattered leaves on the ground. Having lived in Hong Kong for seven years where the definition of seasons is less defined (and there are far fewer deciduous trees), it feels like Iím experiencing this for the first time. I hope the novelty never wears off.

Recently Iíve read that colour is a good detail to add into a story and where better to draw inspiration than from the nature around us. Even if youíre not experiencing the autumnal colours like me, Iím sure thereís plenty of colour to find if you look in the right places. In Hong Kong, there was always colour everywhere, which made it easy to overlook, but you can try walking a different route, see something (as if) for the first time. Stop, take out a notebook and jot down a few lines about it, go home and write about it in detail.

As I peg out the washing in the early morning, thereís often dew on the grass, sometimes I can see the plumes of my breath as I chat to my children. The sun is now noticeably lower in the sky, casting different shadows, and effecting the light. Fewer daylight hours evoke different feelings in people, many negative, and this in turn can be used in a variety of ways. Squirrels dart around the garden and that makes me think of animals hoarding food for the winter, and others preparing for hibernation.

I think itís easy when weíre working on a story, or a section of a novel, to get stuck inside; whether that be physically inside our homes, or the places where we choose to work, or stuck inside our heads. Iíve never been a big one for exercise, but am starting to see the benefits of spending time away from the desk. Sometimes a quick walk allows me to formulate a sentence or paragraph or story that Iím struggling with and sometimes I see something completely new that I just know will one day make it into a story.

So, get up and out. Just donít forget to take a notebook and pen with you.

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