I have been thinking a lot about the opportunities we have as writers. We get the chance to share something special with others that a lot of people don't have. I, for one, absolutely love being able to tell stories. Start with the bare bones of characters and make them come alive. Give them good traits and flaws. Personalities and traits that are cohesive and identifiable. Nobody is perfect, and having them be imperfect beings makes them all the more realistic. Then I get to drop them into fantastical situations most of us in our mundane, day-to-day lives, would never encounter.
As writers, we get opportunities to research our stories. Sometimes that might mean a trip to the local fire station, to question the firefighters and paramedics. (Oh, poor me, that is such a hardship, right?) Maybe it's talking to an FBI agent or police officer, running scenarios by them to see if it will work.
In our modern world, we also have the ability to interact with people via the internet that we'd otherwise never have a chance of meeting in person. Experts in their fields who help us weave concrete facts into our stories to make them all the more realistic. Because part of storytelling is making the listener or reader enter into the world we create, immerse themselves into the adventure, and feel like they are a part of what's going on around them.
We sometimes have the opportunity to travel. We can go to reader and writer's conferences and meet fellow authors, the ones who write in the same genres we do. Heck, we even get to be fans ourselves of authors that we breathless await their next big book. We get to interact with readers at reader conferences, and meet face-to-face the people who've sent e-mails, and tweeted and wrote Facebook posts about our books. Honestly, where else would you get that kind of opportunity?
Then there's the opportunity to collaborate with other authors/writers in anthologies and boxed sets, bringing new life to series or creating brand new worlds to be explored. The possibilities are endless, limited only by time and our own imaginations.
But do we make the most of these opportunities? How many times do we say, I really need to research untraceable poisons and actually speak to experts on the subject? Or find out about whether guns can fire underwater? Or learn about the finer details about identifying and/or taking fingerprints.
Writers have limitless opportunities. Sometimes we don't take advantage of them, and it inhibits the stories running around inside our heads. Don't let your opportunities pass you by. Seize the day, the moment, because they can slip away from you in a heartbeat, and may never come around again.