How many times have you been told, “Write what you know?” If your experience is anything like mine, too many times to count. I’d like to believe the advice is always offered in an inspirational, encouraging fashion. Alas, sometimes it’s dispensed in a way that can feel restrictive and discouraging. So I offer this as an alternative: WRITE WHAT YOU LOVE.
Before writing about what you love, it helps to identify your ten greatest passions first. Think of this as creating your personal inspirational guide. You’re welcome to peruse my list before or after you write yours.
TEN THINGS I’M CRAZY PASSIONATE ABOUT
For me, a house is not a home without a dog. Besides being bundles of furry adorableness, they are generous, faithful, gentle, and overflowing with love and adoration. Dogs need their people, but we need them more.
2. FAMILY TIME
Family is a gift I treasure every single day. I believe in following through with promises, spending uninterrupted time together, giving love and support without reservation, and freely offering hugs.
My mission is to impart helpful information to students and fellow writers in the most encouraging, understandable, enjoyable, and relatable manner possible. Offering college essay coaching to high schoolers marries my love of teaching with my next passion.
Blog posts … chapters … picture books … emails … travel journals … I find writing to be immensely cathartic. I also find joy in critiquing/copy editing the works of other writers and being part of such a warm, welcoming, generous community.
Reading soothes my soul, and many of my happiest memories center around books. I’m always reading, and if I run out of new books to read, I feel bereft. When my dog wants to find me, she sits in my favorite reading chair and waits for me to appear. Is it any surprise the library is my happy place?
I drink hot chocolate before bed. I make great chocolate chip cookies and will happily taste test yours. And if you bring me a warm chocolate soufflé once a month, I’ll become your slave. Yes, I’m a chocoholic, and I’m not afraid to admit it.
7. RESPECTING DIFFERENCES
I can’t imagine a world in which we were all the same. Yuck! I believe at my core that no one should be judged, excluded, vilified, mistreated, or worse on the basis of gender, sexuality, abilities or disabilities, nationality, race, ethnicity, or religion. I could go on and on. And on.
Oboe and piano were “instrumental” parts of my high school identity. I’m overjoyed that trumpet is an “instrumental” part of my son’s. Need a cheerleader for inclusion of music programs in schools? I’m your girl.
Where would I be without my girlfriends? I shudder to imagine.
Watching tiny lizards cavort in their natural habitat consumes me. My spirit animal is the hummingbird, and I love birds and animals of all kinds. I once removed a yogurt container from a skunk’s face, and I pick up stray garbage and recycle regularly. Nature makes life beautiful, and I strive to protect it.
You may have greater or fewer than ten items on your list, and that’s absolutely fine. I could definitely add a few more to my list. But once you’ve identified your greatest passions, what happens next? ANYTHING YOU WISH!! Think of your list as the most essential THEMES of your life, and use them to inspire your stories. You’re free to explore any and all permutations of each one. What happens if your main character strives for one of your themes, but factors thwart him or her every step of the way? What happens if one of your themes is removed, controlled, or restricted? What do your characters experience, and how does that inspire them to to act? If you’re truly passionate about something, your passion will shine through your writing and give your stories HEART.
I hope you found this idea inspiring and encouraging. Go forth and WRITE WHAT YOU LOVE!
Related Post: The Perks–and Perils–of “Write What You Know” by Naomi Milliner
Interested in learning more about Theme as well as Plot? Check out my earlier post: The Differences Between Plot and Theme … and How They Intertwine