>Have an adventure

>At last weekend’s Willamette Writers conference, a workshop by William Powers got my mind buzzing. Powers, who has published books and sold articles on his travel adventures to places like the Washington Post, the International Herald Tribune, New York Times and National Public Radio, basically sends himself on an adventure and then writes about it. His “Freewheelin’ Liberia” piece, written from his experiences as a relief worker in that African country, was selected for the 2010 Best Travel Writing anthology.
It also led to a book, The Blue Clay People.

From his work in Bolivia, he wrote two books, Whispering in the Giant’s Ear and Kusasu and the Tree of Life, as well as articles and commentaries. His latest book, Living Off the Grid, is based on his experience living in a primitive cabin in North Carolina.

In his three-hour workshop, he showed us how one idea can lead to many articles, as well as books, talks, radio commentaries, and more. We should write about whatever we are most interested in, he says. Passion for our subjects will give our writing the power to soar above the competition.

What kind of adventure can you send yourself on? You may not be able to go to another country, but there are adventures to be had wherever you are. What if you took your two left feet to a dance class? What if you volunteered at the local food bank? Or at a nursing home? Oregon author Lauren Kessler, who directs the creative nonfiction program at the University of Oregon, worked at an Alzheimer’s facility and wrote a wonderful book called Dancing with Rose. Maybe something happening in your own life offers plenty to write about without having to leave town.

How does Powers do all this? Stay tuned for the next Freelancing for Newspapers blog posting, where I’ll share some of his suggestions for cutting through everything else to make more time to write.

Meanwhile, what do you want to write about?

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