As our lives change, our ideas, our inspiration, and what we have to save, also change. I consider that a good thing for writers, as it allows us to draw on our own life experiences. I may write fiction, but a lot of what goes into my characters are emotions and experiences based on my own life. Much of what you read in my book settings and the characters' actions, are based on dreams or things I would like to see or do, and places I've been and love.
I write in historical settings because my heart exists in another time. I'm fascinated by what life might have been like a century, or two, or three, ago. I long to visit those times and settings, and to see my dreams come true, even if it's only in the form of a story.
Many authors write what they know, but when writing historical novels, we only know so much. We know what we study and research. We know what the experts have told us based on their study and research, but we can't truly know because we didn't live it. We rely entirely on accounts of others who lived it, and that is one of the greatest draws I have to historical settings and books. For a time, we get to live the lives of people who breathed, loved, suffered, and triumphed before we ever set foot on earth.
Ninety percent of what I read through research doesn't make it into my books, but those hours, weeks, and months I spend in the lives of those individuals, are worth every minute. That knowledge contributes to who I am as a person, and that can only help me grow as an author. As an author, I have a lot to say, and most of it is what comes from within me, and not a text book. I've learned the hard way that when you focus on what you believe a story should say, and you believe others want from a story, chances are you'll end up with a book you don't like.
What you have to say can manifest itself in so many ways. If you're an historical scholar and your heart and mind are filled with stories of ancient times and people, and your dream is to tell their stories, then do it. If you've delved into the other-worldly, and you're fascinated with the paranormal to the point where you're aching to share how you feel with the world, then tell that story. If you have a great passion, and you long to compose a novel where at the heart is music, art, the ocean, the earth--whatever calls to you--then use that passion to tell your story. If you long for adventure, whether in the old west, space, or the deep blue sea, and the idea of going on that adventure makes you happy, draw upon that longing to write your book.
Writing from within, drawing pieces of your heart and soul into a story, is the only way you'll be truly pleased with what you've written.
Do you write from within?