Writing What You Know

A.K.A. Sticking to Your Guns

How do you do this? How do you write what you want to write?

I often feel myself slumping down into my seat when I think about the material I’m producing and seeing how the world is. Currently, I’m attempting to write about sports. Recent world events make me feel like what I’ve chosen to write about is not important. I want to focus on topics like Toxic Masculinity and masculinity in general, because it’s what I’m familiar with and what effects me, but I feel like I should write an essay about world and/or political affairs. Or maybe something about the US’ current socioeconomic climate and its constant state of harming those whom would be deemed as “lesser.”

The thing is, I CAN still write about them. BUT, I’m not the best person to do so. Yes, the world seems to be in turmoil, but I’m not the most educated on climate science. I don’t have much experience in poor and/or rural communities of the US. I’m a barely lower-middle class, straight, white male who was forced to fit in despite mental illnesses and other natural weirdnesses based on cultural norms etc. It’s not these things I feel guilty about not writing, but it’s what I know.

I was not good at sports, and I hope you weren’t either. Even if you are, you’re still welcome! I’m only saying that because THAT’S what I’m writing about, or trying to anyway. Why that and not something else? Well, I’ll answer that question with another question: Why not?

There are lots of creators out there, a plethora of writers, each with their own style and subjects, most, if not all, of it dependent on their life experiences. I’m not saying you should rely on other writers or creators to get points across, your points across that is, but to assume that they will, at the very least, do better than someone who doesn’t have the same knowledge and/or experience as you. Now, you shouldn’t feel that something like creating a statue as a political statement and placing it in a community where it will get the most impact is something you should assume someone else will do and do it better, but you should be aware if this is what you’re best at and if you’re comfortable doing it.

I will say that stretching beyond your comfort zone is a good part of growing creatively. However, there are limits. You should certainly feel the need to expand your knowledge and skill set, but don’t do what you can’t do.

It’s difficult to accept, at times, especially when you feel inadequate in your work, but it is something everyone will need to get over at some point. It’s good to feel confident in what you’re working on/writing. It’s important to feel like you’re the only one who can write about what you’re writing about in the way that you’re writing about it. This is what’s often called “originality.”

Don’t write what you don’t know.

Sounds simple, but a lot of people try tackling things that they’re solely passionate about without the education necessary. If you really want to write about something, take the time to study and make sure that you’re knowledgeable about the subject. Don’t get me wrong, you need passion, that drive, but passion isn’t everything. I mean, it’s something, but it’s not enough.

On top of that, if someone tells you to stop writing about something, mostly something that they don’t find interesting as opposed to something they find could be harmful, you shouldn’t listen to that person. Now, if what you’re working on is poor in quality or moral fiber, then I would have to side with that person. BUT, if your work is just something they don’t care much about, then stick to your guns, and keep going. They’re not your target audience and you can find that later.

Not giving up, though, is something you need to find. If you can persevere, even things seem most difficult, most dire, then you’ve made it further than most. I will always encourage people to write and/or create. I hope the best for everyone.

 

Yours,

Nathan

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