There’s this saying about writing what you know and it’s true. Even when we write about what we don’t know, things we’ve made up, there are certain elements to the writing that we bring to it through our own life experiences. Many writers make a character loosely based on someone, sometimes several people, they know in real life. I know a few of our characters have several character traits from multiple people, which, in turn, makes them, their own person.
The reason I wanted to talk about life experiences is because my husband and I have regretted moving away from Casper, WY to Savannah, GA. We don’t like it here. We tried so hard for the first couple of months, but it just isn’t for us. I want mountains back. I do not like the swamp. Yes, Savannah, GA is a swamp, no matter what anyone says. Some would think its beautiful, and it is in certain aspects.
There is one aspect here that I cannot get use to and that’s the smell. The stench that some days smells like someone farted in your face. Other days it smells worse. The worst part is that it comes and goes, so there isn’t really a way to get use to it. There can be several days in a row where it doesn’t stink. And then, there are days where you go to a movie and when you come out, the outside smells so horribly it nauseates you. That’s something I can’t get use to.
The beach life, for us, is not worth it. I know this is going to sound odd, but we don’t really care for the beach that much. It’s only okay. That, right there, is something we would have never known had we stayed. Nor would we have been able to experience the heat down here that seems to oppress you. We’ve experienced extreme cold by living in Bismarck, ND. I guess it was time to try the humid heat. Not a fan. Now we know for a fact and learned something we can add into our novels.
The people here are okay. They aren’t much different from the people we left behind in Wyoming. They talk about southern hospitality, but I don’t know if that truly exists anymore. There are just as many rude, inconsiderate people here as there were back in Casper. Probably more, since the metropolitan population of Savanna is roughly 384,000, and the population of the entire state of Wyoming is 585,000.
My point is (if you’ve stayed with me this long) is that although we regret moving here, we wouldn’t have ever had the experiences we’ve had. We would have never seen a person trying to squeegee off ice on a windshield (one of the few times there’s ice down here). That one had us giggling for quite a while.
It’s these experiences that have shaped us. Being here has given us several fantastic ideas for one of the series we’re working on. I don’t think these ideas would have come to us had we stayed back in Casper. That’s kind of the point though. Our paths are set before us. We can choose which way to go. Sometimes these choices don’t always work out in our favor. Sometimes they do. It also depends on how you choose to see life. For us, we choose to see life as a learning experience, as a way to improve ourselves.
Our writing might have taken a hit after we moved here, a little over a year ago. Part of that is because my husband’s mother was killed in a car accident due to a driver texting while driving. The other part is we decided to let ourselves be miserable while here because we didn’t like it. Because it didn’t work out like we had hoped it would. We have another year ahead of us to allow us to pay off some bills, so we have a few choices. 1.) Stay in the same mood and do nothing, waiting for time to pass. 2.) Write and enjoy ourselves and try to enjoy our surroundings. 3.) Or continue to absolutely hate it here and delve into writing to forget the outside world. We have made a vow to attempt number 2. Out of the options, it sounds like the best one. That’s the thing. We have control over a lot in our lives. It’s all in the way we choose to see things. So, today, choose those life experiences. Choose to look at things in a new light.
For the other writers who need a reminder: Remember that life experiences bring life to writing. These emotions we have felt have helped us delve deeper into some of our characters. The things we have seen help us with story development. Everything we go through in life, both good and bad, help with our writing. Don’t fear going out and having life experiences, even if they don’t work out like you planned. Without them, what would writers have to write about?