So I’m heading to a “Becoming an Outdoors Woman” retreat this week. I have a friend who’s writing a western and, being a native Chicagoan, wanted some hands-on time with guns and bows and such. So I said I’d do it with her.
This retreat is actually not too far from where I spent my youth. While I grew up around hunters, and I’ve shot a few guns in my time, I’ve never really been comfortable around firearms. Now that I live in a city with some of the most restrictive gun laws and the highest homicide rate in the country, I figured now was as good a time as any to get comfortable with a gun. I’m also learning outdoor photography and first aid.
Am I writing a western (or want to?) No. Am I likely to treat a campfire burn using medicinal plants? Probably not. So how is this research? Simply put, when you’re a writer everything is research. Jumping on opportunities when they present themselves is a great way to gain life experience points. Internalizing those experiences give you novel and story fodder.
When you’re a professional writer, you’re always at work, one way or another.