Often I’m asked where I get ideas for a blog post, novel, screenplay, etc. While there are many sources available–from writing prompts online to offering an opinion on current events–I tend to find more inspiration from this thing called, life.
Writing about what I know has many advantages:
1. I don’t need to check my sources, only my scrapbooks.
2. Putting memories to paper gets them out of my head, making room for more memories.
3. Getting bad memories out of my head helps me heal.
4. Remembering good memories brings about even more joy.
5. I learn more about myself, and often even more about others who react or relate to what I write.
Since I write about what I know–either stemming from experience or what I’ve been taught–there’s a chance certain experiences involving certain people may find its way into my writing. This is not a new concept; I’m far from being the first or last writer to use this technique. However, whatever circumstances I end up writing about, if I write with someone in mind it’s about something I’ve already discussed with them. It’s easier to work out issues directly instead of being passive aggressive, but I can’t help it if issues resurface while unpacking emotional baggage for the sake of a story.
Besides, the chances of the baggage packers reading anything I write is slim, but there’s still a chance my writing may strike a chord with a reader who thinks I’m sending a message to them and them alone. I’m not. While I’m always looking for ways to reach my audience, and I’m thrilled if something speaks to them, it’s not a ploy to secretly tell anyone what I really think.
When someone can relate to what I write, my job is more fun. It makes my heart happy when someone tells me they’ve connected with a topic or character and it helped to make them feel less alone. As hard as it is to talk about feelings, reading something that makes you think ‘me too’ can be just as cathartic. If I can help anyone in this way then it makes sharing these stories worth even more than just the pleasure of writing.
So, the next time you read something and can relate, that’s great! Feel free to let me know. Let’s share in the joy or let go of the pain together. If a situation starts to sound familiar and you take it personally, you shouldn’t–it’s not all about you. If anything, you should probably think twice about pissing off a writer in the first place.