Things that it is useful for a writer to do at some point in their life:
- Travel Call me old-fashioned, but it is way easier to describe a place if you’ve actually been there. Plus travelling really can broaden the mind.
- Own a sommelier’s kit So you can learn to identify smells and thus how to describe them. Or—cheaper option—walk around smelling stuff and figure out how you’d write it.
- Juggle, play a sport, or learn to dance, or a martial art So you can describe limbs in motion. Much easier when your limbs have been there. You can also just watch lots of juggling, sports being played, kung fu fighting, and dancing. Extreme slow motion is particularly excellent. But feeling it from the inside can you give that extra insight in the describing. And details: if I hadn’t fenced I wouldn’t know that it leaves you with tiny point-of-the-foil-sized bruises, and some bigger ones too—direct hit to the hipbone? Ow!
- Learn another language Cause aside from everything else it makes you think about your native language in all sorts of new ways. Deeply cool for a writer.
- Work in a book shop Good to understand as many bits of the book industry as you can. This would be supply.
- Work as an editor Another bit of the book industry. The bit that wants to change your words. Best to understand why, right?
- Work as a publicist So that you’ll understand that there are many of us and few of them.
Disclaimer: I have never worked in a book shop, or as a publicist, or editor. Nor do I juggle. I speak a little Spanish, but not enough to qualify as even semi-fluent. I did read a novel in Spanish once, but. I’ve travelled a fair amount and I do own a sommelier’s kit.
Over to you lot. Any other useful suggestions?