Writing is hard enough without you adding to its innate difficulty. When you’re starting out and working on becoming a better writer, it can be challenging to determine what you want to write about. Initially, it may seem like every story has already been told. Also, you may have a hard time getting your writing to sound authentic. Here are my 3 tips geared to making your writing original and authentic.
- Write what you know about.
- Write about what interests you.
- Write about things you have experienced.
Writing what you know about
An old adage suggests that you write what you know. When you’re starting out, it’s good to write about those subjects and people you know something about. This will spurn you to sitting down and writing, while in turn helping you get better at your craft. When you’re starting out, becoming a better writer is really what it is all about. That requires writing.
Rather than tackling some complex subject you aren’t well-versed in, begin by writing about what you know. Don’t make your key players in stories people whose perspective you are totally unfamiliar with. When you are telling stories that take place in a historical time before you existed try to find characters living in those times that provide you with the opportunity to translate their story through your unique lens. By telling stories from angles familiar to you, you can unleash your originality and communicate with authenticity. For example, don’t make your protagonist the sheriff if you have little law enforcement experience or a doctor if you lack medical experience. Don’t write about being super rich, when you’ve been middle class on your best financial day. You have a unique perspective on common shared life experiences. Begin building your craft from there.
Writing about what interests you
When something really interests us, we tend to learn all there is to know about it. This helps make it easier to sit down at your typewriter or computer keypad and punch out text. Letters turn into words, words become sentences, and paragraphs become chapters. You’ll have your book written before you know it. If you’re a chess player and not an athlete, why not set your story around a big chess tournament rather than a football game. Again, this will help bring out your originality and make your writing resonate with greater authenticity.
Writing about things you’ve experienced
I believe people are more alike than they are different. We are born, we live, we love, we hate; we are happy, we are sad, we have families, we celebrate special days and commemorate once-in-a-lifetime events. We’ve all cheered when a new baby is born. We have each loved and had our share of disappointments. What’s different is our individual unique perspective. Again, remember this is a starting point; a place to begin putting words on paper.
There is nothing wrong with utilizing your imagination to create your story. But imagination is a skill that can be developed over time.
It may be hard to believe based on what you see on TV, but not everyone is a detective or super evil villain. Truth is, we all have a little good and bad in us. Know what makes your story original and authentic? It’s you.