Friday, April 15, 2016

Tell Them

If you are a writer of any sort, I'm sure you've heard the familiar advice, "Write what you know." There are articles both promoting and criticizing this quote. When taken literally, it can scare anyone out of a writing a book they're passionate about. Someone might not want to make their main character blind, just because they feel like they don't know enough about being blind. On a personal level, I often shy away from showing my stories about school to others for the fear of disapproval since I’m homeschooled.

I agree—our experiences differ from our stories. I’ve never been a police officer or have gone to public school. However, I believe the emotions in our story should be similar to than ones we’ve felt ourselves. Your parents might have never left you, but I’m sure you’ve experienced the pain of someone leaving, whether it was the death of a family member or a friend who stopped talking to you. Of course, these are different situations, but they cause the same type of emotions: anger, sadness, depression.

Whether it’s a story or even a poem, the emotions are critical. Recently, I reread The Book Thief, one of my favorite books in the world. I differ significantly from the main character, Lisel. I’ve never been in the foster system. I wasn’t alive during World War II. Even so, I felt like I could have been her best friend. She had a rare love for words that I have felt. She had the similar, deep relationship with her father that I do. And because of that, I loved Lisel. Not especially because I connect to her, but because she helped me understand my own feelings. I don’t know if the author himself had the same adoration for words that she did. But because he explored the sensation so deeply, I was able to relate to it.

It’s hard to write about personal situations, much less show them to others. There’s always that fear that it will be taken the wrong way, or *gasp*, the person who inspired it will read it. I’ve published a few poems that were inspired by a few people in my life. And yes, I was afraid that the wrong person would read them. But you know what? Each time I found the bravery to hit publish, I got a lot of feedback. Comments like: “I can really relate to this. Thanks for sharing.”

Sure, those people might not have had the same problem I did. But they still were impacted by my words because they were similar to their own feelings. There is nothing more powerful than the ability to connect with people. An action movie might keep your attention for two hours, but if you can’t connect to the characters, what’s the point?

So I encourage you. Don’t be afraid to write what you know. Write the emotions you have experienced, no matter how painful or personal they are. Write about the anger that comes when someone mistreats you. Write about the joy that comes when you move on. Tell others how you feel. 
And then, maybe they’ll understand how they feel.  Maybe they’ll realize that they can overcome the pain.

What are you waiting for?

P.S. I posted for the first time in forever a month ago. Back then, I had 47 followers and no guarantee that anyone would read it. On that silly post of mine, I got eight comments and now I have 54 followers. I don’t know how to thank you guys. I hope you liked this more serious post. What do you think about my advice?


  1. This is such amazing advice. I'm in the middle of a novel currently, and I definitely needed to read this. xD

    1. Thanks so much. I'm so glad you were inspired by it. Good luck with your book:)

  2. I like your posts, and advice. An action film can take us two hours himself. We can spend our time on this two-hour film. They should our characters is important elephant in my memory. Remove ourselves must be able to share a book than a movie. However, let us write what we think. Let's write what we feel and imagination rule.

    Also, congrats on the followers!

    Ellie | On the Other Side of Reality

      Just thought I'd respond in all caps because it's fun:P

  4. I like it. Makes sense. Reminds me when I found my stolen bike. Do you recall....

  5. "Writing what you know" is always terrific advice. You are so right - the emotion and heart of the story is more fully developed when told from the perspective of someone who has been there in that moment.

    Thank You for the inspiration!


  6. Thank you for this good advice.


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In Christ,