Do You Have Life Experience To Write By?
Is it any wonder so many writers are past their teenage years? Often well past those years? I believe you need at least some life experience to write by before you can get your teeth into composing any sort of story. Whether it is fact or literature or popular fiction, children’s or adults, a writer needs to have some connection with the world and all that it encompasses to write anything worthy of reading. The experiences we have throughout our lives help us build a huge reservoir of ideas, impressions, thoughts and feelings we can then interweave into our writing. You might say someone like Anne Frank belies this thinking, but I disagree. Her age is really irrelevant. Her writing so reflects her life experiences.
Even if we don’t necessarily write about those things we have experienced, our writing must reflect the person those experiences have made us. We have certain knowledge and experience inside which will sneak into our writing even if this is not done intentionally.
I’m not sure what things have helped me become an author. First I must give credit to my mother who is a great reader. She instilled in me a love of the written word and the certainty that you can never be alone or lonely if you have a book beside you. Even now, when I visit with her, we often sit together quietly reading our books.
Being fortunate enough to encounter and attend a romance writing course conducted by Loree Lough was a huge boost for me. Prior to this writing had been a dream which I was sure would remain just that, a dream. Her ongoing encouragement enabled me to turn that dream into reality. The writers group I became involved with until I returned to NZ also helped me tremendously.
I also pay tribute to my time serving in the Royal NZ Navy which definitely contributed to my perseverance and determination to succeed. Serving in any military corps instills enormous self discipline which has been invaluable. The routines I set early in my second (writing) career continue although my life has changed dramatically. I no longer need to fit writing around the needs of my children or household duties but my routine is firmly entrenched and ensures I have plenty of hours each day to devote in some form to my writing.
My life experiences have helped me. They’ve given me the desire to produce stories others might like to read, and taught me how to go about this. My head is full of plans and ideas for stories. Every day I’m out and about in our beautiful world, there’s a chance something will jump out and hit me as worth writing into a story, or possibly becoming the whole story line itself. Maybe tomorrow something else will trigger a new idea. As long as I’m open to the possibility, the world will continue to spark these ideas.
What experiences have you had which you draw upon when you are writing? Do you search your memory banks for occurrences from your past and adapt them? Do you choose settings that mirror where you live now, or have lived previously? Are your characters a little like people you have already meet? Is the conflict in your story similar to something you’ve experienced yourself, or seen firsthand? They are all out there, so many ideas. Just keep your eyes and ears open, and allow them to flood into your mind. Process them and get them down…then you’ll have a story.