Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Wednesday Writers Tips - Go out and do things

I usually write up Wednesday Writers Tips on Tuesday evening but last night my brother treated us to dinner at the Chart House on Lake Tahoe. We had a wonderful meal, a good visit, and an unusual and spectacular sunset. Unfortunately, we got that sunset at the cost of the trees that are burning west of Lake Tahoe. The smoke from the fire left a band of gray haze over the mountains and when the sun dropped behind the smoke it turned into a glowing red ball.

Today's tip is to Go out and do things! Don't forget to connect with people, they will refill your well. Last Thursday a few friends from work took me out for drinks and dinner at my favorite Mexican restaurant for a (Semi-) Retirement Party. It's good to have the time to chat outside the work environment. Then on Saturday I went to a reunion party for people who have worked for the local paper over the last ten years or so. I enjoyed seeing several old friends from those days. Even though I live in a small town, I don't run into them very often. Then there was dinner last night with my brother, sister-in-law and our mother at the lake. It was a leisurely (expensive) meal. A treat mom and I don't get often.

Another thing I'm going to Go out and do has more to do with my writing. I signed up for the Senior Citizen Law Enforcement Academy hosted by our local sheriff's office. You have to be 50 or older and "never convicted of any offense other than traffic." You have to agree to a background check, too. The classes or lectures are from 1pm to 5pm, September 9 - 13.

The goal is to provide crime fighting educational programs and information to seniors. Presentations will include: training and instruction on uniformed patrol procedures, jail/custody procedures, criminal investigations, crime scene processing, narcotic and gang investigations, criminal justice system, criminal prosecution, court procedure, dispatch operations, identity theft and fraud prevention, law enforcement volunteer programs, fire prevention, youth services and emergency medical information.

These lectures will certainly be helpful since I'm working on a series of stories involving investigators in a small town sheriff's office.

Before I started writing seriously in 2005, I wouldn't have wanted to attend something like this. In fact I didn't Go out and do a lot of things as I was timid about pushing my envelope. But since writing my first novel I have done a lot of things I never would have done before.

One of the things I've Gone out and done: I drove from Nevada to Alberta, Canada to research a novel involving an American Music Teacher and an RCMP officer. The border officer wanted to know why I was traveling, alone, to Alberta in October. I said that I had planned to travel in September but a death in the family (my cat) cause me to postpone the trip. Then I had a real "Joan Wilder" moment when he asked what my purpose was and I said, "I'm writing a romance novel involving an RCMP officer." He took my driver license and ran it in their system then came back and told me it was crooked. I had several smart remarks at the back of my tongue but kept my mouth shut. In fact, I think I forgot to call him sir. Oops.

Have you found that writing has broadened your interest in Going out and doing things? What have you done that you wouldn't have done before you were writing?

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