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Have you ever acted on impulse? I’m not talking about sneaking an extra cookie when no one’s looking, or tossing a handful of candy bars onto the conveyor belt at the grocery store. I mean an act of wicked indulgence, with an audience.

While in public, most of us (writers especially) tend to curb the urge to actually commit an outrageous act of daring. Instead, we weave them into our heroines and heroes, living through them just a little bit.

But, writer or not, once in a while we need to shake things up. Get our hearts to skip a beat and smile like we ate the biggest canary on the face of the planet. Well, I have. And it was fabulous.

Let me explain…

The day was perfect–gray, windy, a touch rainy…just right for a Highland festival. But the weather was merely the backdrop. Bagpipes, bodhrans, and whistles filled the air, adding excitement to the day. Then came the call. There were openings on the panel to judge which single, kilted man had the “bonniest knees”. As a writer of historicals, Scottish and Viking, I went all giddy inside. Little did I know.

At the urging of my family, and especially my husband, I volunteered. I can do this. I can look at bare male knees peeking out between wool stockings and plaid tartans to pick the nicest pair. Well, imagine my surprise when I, a willing volunteer, found myself ushered to a chair and blindfolded. I was to judge all right, but not by sight. I had to judge by feel.

One by one a line of men paraded in front of myself and several other ladies, standing patiently as each pair of female hands reached forward blindly in their general direction to “squeeze” their knees. Brave fellas, huh?

I don’t think the smile ever left my face.

Now what has all this got to do with writing? Well, aside from a great deal of fun, I dared to act. I chose to do something I would never ordinarily do – and with an audience no less.

As writers we tend to linger in introverted, creative worlds. But we do need to live life in order to create more believable characters. Don’t pass up a chance to smile, or laugh, or cry. We will be better for it, and so will our characters.

And know this, you can take great joy in feeling your way through.