Well, the time really does seem to roll by quickly and while I’ve written a lot of notes on topics for upcoming blogs, I look at each of them and wonder, where do I start? Believe me, I’ve read my notes and there are some damn interesting topics but I have to decide what will be the topic when, and do I have a photo to go along with it? I much prefer adding pictures as I’m sure it’s quite boring to just read what I’ve typed without the break for a photo. It also makes it look like I did a lot more work than I really did. As for the ‘damn interesting topics’, don’t worry, they’ll make it here, eventually.
Throughout my life, in English classes, at writing workshops, retreats and seminars, I’ve always heard, “Write what you know.” It’s worked for me since I know a little about a lot, and I’ve always been happy to share (some may say I share too much). I’ve been fortunate to work with people throughout my life who enjoy my stories, and I have a story for pretty much every situation you can think of. These are the people who continue to encourage me to write what I know, to put my story down, and help others work through their own difficulties by seeing how I’ve done it.
I’ve started to do that in that I’m researching missing pieces of my life. Well, they aren’t really missing, other people know what took place when I was either too young to remember, or for innumerable reasons, chose to block out. I’m in a more secure and confident point in my life now and able to face those periods of time I had no problem dealing with, but others may not have been as welling to talk about. I’m comfortable asking the questions, and doing the research that I’ve put on the back burner for many years. This is an ongoing project and I’m sure bits and pieces will show up here as I put the missing pieces in place to sort out the puzzle of who I am.
Going back to writing what you know. Does that mean murder mystery writers have personal knowledge on how to commit murder? Are science fiction fantasy writers all astrophysicists? No, I don’t believe that’s what it means at all. I think it means these writers have a truly remarkable interest in their topic of choice and are dedicated to doing the research needed to ensure every detail is accurate. Whether they delve into archives and technical volumes themselves, or make the connections needed with people who are trained in that specific topic, they do what they need to in order to provide the base for their story. This in turn allows their imagination to soar and, with any luck, they’ll bring their audience along with them.
This doesn’t mean we should only write or do what we know, or what we have a special interest in. Very much like other parts of our lives, we can run into a roadblock, or in this case a writer’s block, and simply not move forward. That’s when you have to step out of your comfort zone and try something new. For a writer, it may be attempting a style of writing you’ve never tried before; poetry or on-the-spot writing for example. For life in general, it may mean stepping out of your daily routine and trying something completely new. For me personally, it sometimes means getting behind the wheel of my car and driving down roads I’ve never traveled before. It means discovering places that are new to me and letting my thoughts roam. I do some of my best thinking while exploring roads and communities I’ve never been to before, and I’ve had some of my best adventures finding new ways to get where I want to be. As my children are use to hearing, “I never get lost. I simply find new routes to where I am going, or new places to be.” MJM