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Transformative Travel

Cheryl's Musings: Transformative Travel

Cheryl's Musings

How to Thrive on the Writer's Road


Transformative Travel

One of the most valuable things I gained--both as a writer and as a person--from my recent trip to Peru was completely unexpected. The trip changed me. It changed the way I see the world, the way I see myself, and the way I see the faith and love and peace and joy. Why is this important for my writing? Because as writers, we portray our characters as they grow and change. The best way to capture the emotions of transformation is to go through it ourselves.

In Criss-Cross, the 2006 Newberry Medal winner, a character says:

"I think...that it's a good thing to get out of your usual, you know, surroundings. Because you find things out about yourself that you didn't know, or you forgot. And then you go back to your regular life and you're changed, you're a little bit different, becuase you take those new things with you."

That was my experience in Peru. I returned to the States with a better handle on my values, with a bit thicker skin, and with a new clarity of purpose for writing. I also returned with a passion to write this self-discovery into a novel. Change, self-discovery, growth: these are the things a reader identifies with in a character.

Today's challenge: Do something out of the ordinary. Put yourself in a new situation, one that forces your to be brave, to be self-reliant, to discover new aspects of yourself. Nurture your own transformation. What can you do in the next six months that is radically different from your normal life? Learn to skydive? Join a soccer team? Take a weekend trip over the border? Heck, take a quick trip to Lima? Commit. Stretch yourself.

Then write about it.

And hey, let me know what happens!

:) Cheryl

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