Write What You Know
They say “Write what you know”, like a whispered mantra to writers.
Certainly we all have life experiences to draw on. We’ve been places and seen things. We have had unbelievable highs and crushing lows: Heartbreak, tragic loss, betrayal, danger, first love, maybe second love, loyalty and friendship. These are all things to be utilized for writing.
In school, I loved reading. I went on my first adventure with C.S.Lewis, I had my eyes opened by Aldous Huxley, my heart was broken by Shakespeare, And yet, I found some books to be unbearable. A burden like weight on my shoulders, “I still have four painful chapters to wade through.” Tedious and meandering, fickle characters with no drive, morals, or redeeming qualities grated sharply. I didn’t relate to them. I was frequently pulled out of the story thinking how ridiculous it was. No real person would make these choices because people don’t make random choices to move something along. They have a drive, a motivation.
As an adult, I am drawn to books that take me on an adventure. I want to be swept away. I want to relate to characters, to see my friends, myself and my world reflected in theirs. These are the books that I read. I dive into them head first and emerge changed, having lived their experiences.
I fall in love with the characters, I genuinely loathe the villains and root for the heroes. I stay up late at night turning the pages, I can’t stop, I have to know what’s next. I cry with them, I celebrate with them and when I finally shut off the light, I miss them. Haven’t you ever loved a book so much you were sad to see it end?
I believe all writers and readers first. You should write what you know. Write what you love. The stories that pull you in are the stories you’re meant to be writing. Use your life and experiences to color it, pepper it with love and heartbreak, tragedy and success. Write what you know and write what you love.