Have you ever done something crazy for your writing? Perhaps making a parody of someone you know or even doing something dangerous, just so you can make use of it on paper later on?
Write What You Feel
Most writing advice advocates: “Write what you know”.
But what if your life isn’t interesting at all? Many writers fall into this trap, believing they have nothing to say, as if all writers have the most adventurous lives.
The truth is the most ordinary thing sounds extraordinary when written beautifully. Moreover, it’s not about events, but emotions. In other words, you can always fictionalize the setting, characters, and pass the emotions you’ve felt on your skin, be it loss or love; being judged or judgmental, longing or betrayal.
Having said that, the more one experiences, the better. I’ve known aspiring young writers who embark on world traveling adventures, getting to know exotic cultures, or devote themselves to learning a completely new craft, just so they can write about it authentically. The avant-garde community usually indulges in vice behavior, thus presenting their revolt with how things are in society and expressing their rebellious nature. Heck, I was one of them.
“After the first glass, you see things as you wish they were. After the second, you see things as they are not. Finally, you see things as they really are, and that is the most horrible thing in the world”. Oscar Wilde
Imagination or the real thing?
One thing is for sure, writers do their research. On top of that, if you’ve personally experienced something, then there’s nothing better than writing about it first-hand.
For example, I’m very interested in psychological character development, so going to a mental clinic with my friend, who’s a social worker, and talking to the patients is something I’m looking into with great excitement. And I admit that after reading Coleridge’s Kubla Khan, morphine was on my mind as a means to take an exotic trip. That, thankfully, never came to life, and died as a romanticized yearning long time ago.
Writers’ imaginations can go far, and experiencing something second-hand in one’s mind can be very powerful, but I doubt it can be as great as the real thing (unless you’re Don Quixote).
Crazy or not, good or bad, experiences are what define us, shaping us into our special selves. Curiosity is our best tool in getting better at the craft: reading, writing, researching or bungee jumping from Kilimanjaro is a personal choice.
For fifteen minutes write about a crazy experience you’ve always wished for and post it in the comments. Of course, if you’re willing to share a true crazy story that you’ve used in your writing, please go ahead. Let’s get those crazy stories rolling.