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Writing

Being Worthy of Your Character

While I'm Still Strong, by Henrik Johansson

How can I make this character believable when I haven’t experienced what they’re going through? Have you ever asked yourself that question? How is it possible to write what you don’t know? I read a lot of articles about the process of writing, and even wrote a blog piece around the topic of Write What You Know. I have told myself a few times, and tried to convince myself that I can’t write a certain scene because I’ve never
experienced the emotions myself. Am I wrong for thinking like this?

Over the last few days I’ve thought about the phrase, “write what you know.” It’s such a coined and well-known phrase in our little world. It made sense to me until I started thinking about my own life experiences. I thought back to my childhood years and all of the Griswold family vacations that my family survived. We had some good times during those vacations. I remember the time that I sat in the canoe with…well those family
members remain nameless because this is more than embarrassing – we ended up
going around in circles in the middle of the lake while other vacationers
looked on in amazement. I also remember my mom (unknowingly) roasting a rat or
mouse in the oven at the log cabin that we rented. The smell was horrendous.
The looks on everyone’s faces? Beyond funny. We had yet another story to add to
the Griswold oops Henry family vacation experience. Being 38 I have so many
other stories and experiences; more than I can count.

With so many experiences under my belt, I realized that I have plenty of firsthand knowledge to write compelling content and make my characters come alive. From childhood memories to university life, to a professional career, to becoming a wife and mother. In more detail – sharing a friend’s loss, getting married, losing a job, having a baby, crying over the loss of a newborn baby, sharing pictures of your fabulous holiday,
lending your shoulder to a best friend who just lost their soul mate, or smiling
because you overcame your worse fear. Many people state that you should write
what you know. Don’t we have enough know how to do just that?

 

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