OK - so maybe I'm a little slow on the uptake or late to the party or whatever you want to call it. But I've been realizing something interesting recently. See, I went to school for psychology and work in behavioral health because people fascinate me. Not large groups - individual people. What drives a person to do what he or she does? How does a person come to the conclusion he or she does? Why do individuals do what they do?
What does any of that have to do with my realization? Quite a bit. You see, it's dawned on me that we, as writers, all ask those kinds of questions. Usually the people we are studying are characters, fictional or otherwise, in our works.
But, even more than that, I've realized that so much of our writing is really more about us than it is the people we write about. Our writing, fiction or non fiction, is a reflection of our souls. It's our likes, dislikes, motivations, questions and uncertainties that come through. Our writing lets us explore ourselves in a way not possible in real life. Even if we are doing it in the most out there science fiction way where characters aren't even human, I think we're still looking at some piece of ourselves.
For example, the Write On Edge prompt this week is about location. We were challenged to write a piece where the location is the centerpiece. As I contemplated how I could use this prompt, the answer came to me. But, the answer was a location that I loved. Even though the answer came in the form of a glimpse into the life of one of my characters, the place he's reminiscing about is essentially a place I've visited many times and love as well.
Maybe this is what other writers mean when they talk about writing what you know. Maybe my pregnant brain hit the overload point hours ago and none of this makes sense to anyone but me. It was just something interesting that hit me - that this journey we take as writers to explore a world, whether it's fictional or otherwise, is really a journey to explore some part of ourselves.