Mine Your Past

by Randy Murray on May 28, 2012

A big part of learning to write is learning to remember. “Where do you get your ideas?” is the typical question other people ask writers. Here’s the answer: you get them from your past, your present, your future, and your dreams.

Let’s start with your past.

I am a bit of a know it all. But then again, so are you. Our lives have given us each rich backgrounds of experiences, even if we ourselves think of these experiences as ordinary, commonplace, and uneventful.

I was reminded of this the other day when visiting with some friends at their home and farm. They walked us through their gardens and orchards and we talked about gardening. They spent a lot of time asking me questions about farming and gardening.

That’s not knowledge I draw upon frequently, but it was a full part of my life for my first twenty years. When I was growing up I thought of my life on the farm as completely uneventful, uninteresting, and unremarkable.

But I can talk, with experience and authority about grain farming, caring for cattle, gardening, bee keeping, handling heavy equipment, basic construction, and many, many more topics. And the following decades of my life added to this store of knowledge and experience.

Writers sometimes hesitate to free their imaginations, to write of things they haven’t directly experienced. But you have experienced many things and you can use those experiences and the thoughts and emotions you’ve experienced to help you make your imagined places, people, and actions come to life.

You only have to remember.

The Mine Your Past by Randy Murray, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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