If you listen to my podcast, Storytelling Saga, you know that my sign-off for every episode is “remember, write what you love.” It’s similar to the well-known phrase, “write what you know,” since personal is universal, and there’s no better way to write something authentically than to have experienced it yourself firsthand.
When I bring up that I have a blog, the question everyone always asks is, “What do you write about?” I always answer that I don’t write about one specific thing, but rather I write about whatever interests me. It makes me realize that, of course, many blogs have one focus or a specific theme to them: travel, food, photography, relationships, etc. As for my blog, I focus not only on my passions and interests—namely writing and television—but also on whatever topics strike me in the moment, like mindfulness, or words of advice on how to break procrastination habits.
Thus, when I say write what you love, what I really mean is to write what you’re passionate about and what resonates with you. Sometimes that means writing about dark topics or painful experiences, and hopefully out of it comes catharsis and healing and understanding. Sometimes it means writing about the latest trend or issue and sharing your opinion on it. Sometimes it’s simply thinking back on a fond memory and re-living it through your writing, or looking to the future by writing about your aspirations. Sometimes it’s writing to vent your frustrations because you care so much about something, and you want people reading to learn from your experience and remind them they’re not alone in their struggles.
What’s funny about this blog is that sometimes I’ll write something relatively quickly, and the post will receive more views and likes compared to other posts I spent far more time and thought into putting together. It just goes to show you’ll never know what will grab people’s attention until you put your work out there. That said, I can admit that sometimes I struggle to find inspiration on what to write about for both these blog posts and my fictional works, and when that happens, a great piece of advice I always turn to is to watch or read other people’s work, whether it’s a movie, TV show, novel, short story or anything at all that other people have created.
Every artist is influenced by other artists, and any work can be drawn to some form of inspiration, whether that inspiration is from a real-life experience or from your favorite stories. You can look at one or maybe an entire list of your favorite shows and movies and look for patterns about what it is about them that resonates with you, whether it’s the characters or the plot or the genre. Learn from the greats and put your own unique spin on it. That’s what helps you find your voice as a writer.
For me, I tend to gravitate to stuff that’s both humorous yet heartfelt, hence why I prefer writing comedy. However, there are things I can appreciate about other genres that I, myself, haven’t felt compelled to explore in my own writing, such as sci-fi or horror. What it all comes down to is that a great story that you love and you’re passionate about can have the power to reach an audience that perhaps you’ve never even expected. The next time you’re in a creative slump, turn to the stuff you love, figure out why you love it and allow your personal connection to it to take you to new places in your own writing.