Writers' $ense: Use Your Experiences

When I'm asked about my occupation. I answer I'm a writer. The question that follows is: "Where do you get your ideas?" The conversation stops and everyone waits for the answer.

It feels like I'm revealing a secret recipe or a patent for a nuclear product. When I say, "My ideas germinate from what I read, see, taste, hear, feel, want, lack, in other words - my experiences." There is a pause.  The conversation changes no one dares to ask me anymore about my ideas. The word experiences conjure various visions in the listeners' mind. For many, it's a hot button topic. Experiences are personal, not always welcomed in polite company.

Writers use experiences as the fodder. They stir their observations, encounters, and interactions to conjure a character, a point of view, a setting, an antagonist, not to mention new worlds. Every human being contains a treasure trove of experiences waiting to burst forth into a story.

Our seven senses are entrances allowing us to immerse ourselves deeper in our experiences. Some experiences are too challenging, researching the experience offers our cerebral tools help the writer more.

 Let's take observing. a couple walking along the beach. How are they walking? Are they holding hands? Are they playful? Are they nuzzling?
Have you encountered an individual on a flight, train or bus ride who started a conversation with you? What was the conversation? What did this person say that encouraged you to converse?

Have changes in your life irritated you? What about the big changes: marriage, breakups, babies,
graduation, job loss, a move across the country, etc.? These experiences introduced you empathy, anger, fear, joy, or tolerance. These feelings you can write into your stories.,
  • What do you care about today? 
  • Who do you love? 
  • How would you describe your fam or your closest friends? 
The answer to these questions assist a writer to describe emotion, action, and empathy for your characters.

Today writers use multiple tools to record impressions, ideas, and experiences.Cocktail napkins, small notebooks with an attached pen, and photos assisted me in the past in developing imagery. My phone, Siri, Ipad record and store my treasury of reflections.

Generate ideas, story lines, characters, poetry, fiction, non-fiction, white papers, thank you notes, etc., is work.  It assists the process if you observe and record the best, ordinary, and worst of your experiences.


Other Resources:



Pictures Credit:



Popular posts from this blog

Women's History Month: Inspiring Women

Challenge Sparks Inspiration

December 2016 Book Review: Maeve's Times