I’ve heard the saying that we should write what we know. That may not necessarily mean we need to know about magic to write a fantasy story. It means we should know something about courage, if our hero needs to overcome odds, or love if there’s a romance.
If we want to write about something happening, it helps if we’ve experienced it. I love horses and riding, and can write with authenticity about horses. I enjoy multiple martial arts, so I can write with some authenticity on those, too. I sew and cook and do all kinds of activities.
Some activities and themes are closer to my heart than others. I tend to write about love and loyalty, sometimes the love being familial or friendship instead of romantic. I prefer to write about adventures and being a warrior, even if it’s a modern warrior. I wouldn’t write about skydiving, as I have no experience with it and no intention of learning.
When possible, I like to do what I want to write about, even if it’s at a lesser level than what I might put in the book. I don’t have to hang off the side of a mountain to know what climbing feels like. I’m an indoor climber, but I know how it feels to have your arms get tired and risk falling. I have hiked and backpacked, so I know what it’s like to sleep in a tent with the wolves howling nearby and the bears passing through the campsite.
When I’m not writing, I like to live a life that I can write about. I like to experience some form of adventure. I know what it’s like to train for something, getting up early for something I love, and care for someone I love immensely, even someone who is ill. I’ve experienced spiritual growth and had transformative experiences. I’ve had the love of my life and lost him to illness.
I write about things that mean something to me. Even when I’m writing fantasy or adventure, I use that as a scene in which I write about love or pursuing goals or finding their place in the world. I write about friendships and community, even when that’s a side story, because those themes resonate with me.
Go and write what you know and feel is true. Write for you first and foremost. Just write.
I’ve been writing stories for myself for years. Now, I’m a published author. No genre is off limits, though I have some favorites.