Today while I was in town, a very interesting thought hit me. I began thinking about how if one person were to write about every single day of their life in perfect detail, the result would be thousands and thousands and thousands… (you get the point) of pages that could fill hundreds of libraries. But that wasn’t all that came to mind. As I saw each person driving by, or passing me, or shopping in a store, I realized that they could each write that many pages as well with their own experiences. Can you imagine how many million-page encyclopedias there would be in the world for everyone, even just the people in a single town, to have an exact record of their day? There wouldn’t be enough space!
This brings me to the point of this post: Each of us has billions of words inside that could create a story.
Personally, I never liked the saying, “Write what you know.” Just hearing it spoken out loud made me feel trapped in a confining space. I’m a fantasy writer, and I don’t want to write about the real world. I get enough of that on a daily basis. But there is a grain of truth to that statement, and today I am going to expand upon that.
Write what you know. In my own opinion, I don’t think of that statement anymore as writing things exactly as they have happened to me. I think of it as sprinkling my stories with the themes I have experience.
Here’s what I mean: Let’s say your dog died. That’s a pretty sad example, but the only one I could think up. Let’s also say you’re a fantasy writer, like me, who writes about a world where dogs don’t even exist. You might be wondering how the two could possibly be related, but bear with me. Let’s say one of the characters has a special animal in this world that they love more than anything. If you kill that character’s animal off, you will know how to properly write the pain they feel because you’ll have felt it yourself.
Back to what I was saying earlier about everyone’s life story, imagine the books that could be written when people combine tidbits from their life to create something amazing! The combinations of the words inside of us are endless. Infinite.
Each feeling and emotion you’ve ever experience grows your ability as a writer.
I used to think that you were either a writer or you weren’t. But I was wrong. We all have the capability to write. We all have a story inside of us waiting to be told.
So write what you know.
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