Monday, May 16, 2011

Life Changes. Change With It

I’ve decided to change

My work life is, for lack of a better word, boring. My social life is repetitive and uninspiring. Not all fault, however, can be attributed to others. Sure, the work is tediously mind-numbing, and sure the people I work with are all two to three times my age, but I can definitely make a positive difference in the environment around me.

I realized recently that my friend sphere has not changed much for over a year. The friends I do have, I wouldn’t trade for the world, but when I started in college I was meeting new people every day. Some of these would remain friends, but others would drop away over time and pursue different friendships. Such is life, and it is something to be expected. Since those first few months, however, I have not made much of an effort to make more friends. I have become lazy and comfortable with my social life, and as a result, it has gone stale. I have begun to blame my friends for my own displeasure, and it’s unfair to them and to our friendship.

I recently took a Muay Thai class through my university and loved it. Better yet, I met some new friends there who shared my love for hitting things as hard as possible. Since then, I have seen them in the gym and around campus and have always stopped to shoot the breeze and talk about how the class affected us. Sadly, some of the guys are graduating soon, so that is a friend pool that I will have to constantly replenish.

I joined the blogosphere looking for others who shared my passion for writing. I figured the best way to meet writers was through writing. It’s only been a few weeks, but I feel like I have made a good foundation for friendships with the few of you I have spoken to so far.

The easiest way to meet people is through a shared interest. This is a very obvious statement, but it’s not one I think about often enough. I have so many varied interests that I’m not taking advantage of, and it’s a shame. I would like to learn German. I plan on becoming a personal trainer. I would love to know how to ballroom dance, and maybe tango or salsa as well. I love softball, Frisbee, and football as well as pretty much any other activity I can do outside. I have considered looking into medieval swordplay so I can write any action sequences with real descriptions. Above all else, I just really like meeting new people.

Instead of acting on my impulses and meeting new people like I should, I sit at home playing stupid online games and watching the same lame movies I watch every week. That is not a good lifestyle for me. I need to be out and exploring. In the interest of this mentality, I have begun scheduling my life. Now I know you must be thinking, “But Carter, isn’t that the opposite of what you want to do? Don’t you want to be more impulsive?” Worry not, humble naysayers, for I do have a plan for how to use this appropriately. My weekdays are pretty packed with work, but I have scheduled in an hour and a half of combined reading and writing time. This will ensure that I keep up with my writing whether it be for my book or for the blog. The time I spend reading may be divided amongst novels, study material for the ACE personal trainer’s exam, German study material, and any other type of reading that could be considered constructive.

My weekends will be where all of my time will be spent finding new friends. Scheduling in a few hours a day devoted to meeting new people will ensure that I actually go out and do it lest I let myself down. I assume that the first few outings will be disastrous and generally embarrassing, but I figure (and hope) that over time, as I start to get results, that I will begin to truly enjoy going out and making a fool of myself.

You may be wondering why I am telling you all this. Honestly, I need some form of accountability to ensure I will continue to do this. As such, I will be posting updates periodically of my progress. I avoid lying on my blog, so you, the reader, will be getting an unfiltered look at the trials and tribulations associated with my new drive.

My work may still be boring, and I may not have much of a connection with any of them, but I hope that by putting myself out there and at the mercy of others, I will become a nicer and more open person. I truly believe that everyone can benefit from going out of their way to make new acquaintances. If everyone in the world went out to make five new friends every weekend, imagine how much happier we all would be.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Quick Thought

So I was at work and my boss went downstairs to grab something from the convenience store and asked if anyone wanted anything and I was struck by the want to rattle off an entire grocery list. Obviously when she asked if anyone wanted anything she didn't expect anyone to ask for anything and as she expected no one did. Its one of those odd little niceties we all use on a daily basis to assure ourselves and those around us that we are friendly. For some odd reason asking someone if they want anything when we leave to get something registers as more polite to us even if it is disingenuous. When I ask if anyone wants anything at the store I never have any interest in the answer because I know it will be no. if they said yes, I'd tell them to come with.

How does this relate to writing you ask? Very loosely. Meaningless niceties are a part of our daily life and our interactions with those around us are rife with them. As such you would expect them to show up in writing quite often, but they don't. Characters are almost always straight to business. When meeting with a business partner there is always some amount of pointless drivel that precedes actually getting down to business. Having this in a book can be useful in moderation. Having too much of it slows the book down and can make the reader bored or unsure what the point is. Not having any can lead to characters seeming very one dimensional or rude. Even if your character is extremely nice, a reader may see their unwillingness to engage in trivial conversation as showing they are distant or aloof. The subtler nuances of human interaction are often difficult to convey in writing, but if done well your characters will be a lot deeper and more relatable.