If You Could Write About Anything, What Would You Write About?
Would you write about your life? Is there an event or a period of your life that you want to share with others? Perhaps it could inspire others to go on a similar journey. Or the event or experience might be one that you write about to help you heal from painful trauma. Maybe there’s a person who was so special or unique that it would be a treat to write that person’s history down, a parent or grandparent maybe.
Or would you write something completely unrelated to your life. A sci-fi novel. A historical drama. A romance. Many people begin to write a novel because they love reading a particular genre and want to write a similar book.
When trying to decide what kind of writer you are or where you want to go next in your writing career, this is a great question to ask yourself. If I could write about anything, what would I really love to write about?
I ask myself this question a lot. And it’s an important question to ask because it leads to writing ideas. The stream of thoughts that come from asking yourself probing questions is what gets those mental juices flowing. It’s funny because you absolutely can write about anything, but writers sometimes begin to judge ideas and restrict the things they allow themselves to write about. Instead they ask themselves what they should write about. Here is why you shouldn’t do that.
I sometimes will make a list. Dogs, success, Hawaii, traveling, romance, love, the end of love, wine, healing, and so on. My list changes depending on my mood and what’s going on in my life and the world. From my list, something might spark an interest. I love dogs, probably more than I love most things in life. I love watching them do dog things like scratch themselves into a blanket before they go to sleep or the way their bodies seem to glide across the yard so effortlessly — at least for one of my chihuahuas. Their hierarchical behavior is fascinating to me too and I find that animals are so much smarter than humans because they follow their instinct and nature. But, aside from giving one of my characters a dog, I don’t think I would choose to write just about dogs. So, some topics will be discarded right away.
But others, could create a spiderweb of possibilities. Wine, for example, ended up being a major character of sorts in one of my novels, Say You’ll Be Mine. The novel wasn’t about wine, but as I was building one of my characters, I decided that she would like wine, like I do. But, what if she didn’t just like wine, but was a wine connoisseur? What would make her such an expert? She could be a wine taster. Or maybe she could own a vineyard and a winery. That would be cool and fun to write! She would own a winery giving me the chance to write about wine and live in that world for a while. Maybe this character spent most of her life building and growing this winery while neglecting everything else like love and marriage and children, and now she finds herself having a midlife crisis.
As you can see, a character and a story begin to grow as I explore one of my interests — wine.
What if I had said, yeah I like wine, but that’s a stupid topic? I’m not a wine expert. I have nothing to say about wine. Why even consider it? I’m not going to write. Or I shouldn’t write about wine. Or a million other things that judgmental thoughts that would have kept me from just writing about something I liked. What would have happened is a pretty good novel would never have been written, and I would have missed out on exploring something I enjoyed.
You might not know for a while what to do with the topic or idea or interest, and it’s okay just to begin writing anything. With my dog example, I might just write descriptions of what I see my dogs doing. This exercise would not be a waste of time. Observing life closely and writing about it is a nice practice that allows writers to practice those fundamentals of writing.
That piece of writing might stay tucked away in a journal or in a computer file, and might be used one day, you never know.
As long as the idea is interesting to you, it’s worth writing. So, if you could write about anything, what would you write about?