I’ve never been scuba diving, for a number of reasons. I’m a decent swimmer and I love being in the water, but diving safely requires some training and a lot of expensive equipment (even renting isn’t cheap.)
Also, it helps to live somewhere with a body of water worth diving in. Which I don’t.
If I were doing research for a book that involved characters scuba diving, I’d have to fall back on doing lots of research online; watching videos and reading articles and all that jazz. And I’m glad I have access to that–the Internet is a freaking miracle goldmine filled with rainbows.
But if I could, I’d rather experience it myself. Nothing can fully replicate the knowledge I’d gain and the observations I’d make if I really went diving.
With that in mind, here’s this month’s assignment.
Do something you’ve never done before, then write about it.
This is vague, I know, but it’s meant to be. I can’t know what you already know how to do, or places you’ve already been.
Use this as a spur to visit the zoo and participate in a feeding–I’ve never done that either, even though at the Detroit Zoo you can feed the giraffes!
Or teach yourself a new craft and document the process. Describe what came easily and what you had the most trouble with.
Go to your local coffee shop and order a drink you’ve never had before. Write about how it tastes.
Call one of your Congresspeople, if you never have, and tell the nice staffer who answers whatever you feel about a pressing political issue. Or go to a local town hall meeting. Write about how you felt getting involved; write about what other people said at the meeting and the impression you got of them.
Whatever it is that you choose to do, notice the details of as many senses as possible. Smell might be more obvious at the zoo or a garden than that town hall meeting, but what if it isn’t? The meeting room could smell like coffee, or carpet cleaner, or too many bodies packed into a small space.
When you write, focus on the personal. What did you see or hear that another person might not have noticed, or wouldn’t think to mention if they were telling you about it? How did the environment affect you as an individual? What made your experience unique?
So, if you can go scuba diving, do it for my sake, who can’t, and tell me all about it. Everyone else, take a little time to have a small adventure (even a tiny one) and write about what you did.