What I Think About When I Think About Writing: What Do You Write About?

“So, what do you like to you do on your free time?”

“Play games, hang out, write.”

“Oh so you’re a writer?  What do you write about?”

I will always get this question whenever it comes up.  I suppose it’s natural that people become curious; not everyone writes for fun.

What do I write about? It’s a question that I can never answer clearly or with confidence.  I write about a lot of things.  Even now I’m having trouble finishing this train of thought.  I guess a common theme would be slice of life.  For those who haven’t heard that term before, it revolves around the everyday life of a person.  Nothing fantastic or supernatural happens, it’s just life.  Within this life, I like to explore the relationships between people:  whether it’s old friendships being rekindled (or vanishing), random encounters with people, or love.

I do like writing about love.  A lot.  Love is something that fascinates me because it’s something that can completely change a person’s personality, lifestyle and way of thinking.  It’s a storm of emotions that never remains consistent.  The thought that one person can significantly affect one’s life intrigues me.  I hate sappy, cliche romances though; stuff you might see in a rom-com or a in a cheap, paperback book that’s on a rotating display of a supermarket.  I like going deep and exploring the feelings two people may have for each other, or how their surroundings and events may affect/test their relationship.  Whether it’s a young man longing and reminiscing the one that got away or watching a pair trying to maintain their relationship as life around them changes drastically, that’s what I like to write about.  But I think I’d want to start writing about other things once my main ideas for books comes to fruition.  Maybe a mystery novel would be interesting.

Another theme that I love to explore is the past.  To a fault, I am a nostalgic person.  Ever since I was a kid, I always treasured special moments in my life and would relive them in my head multiple times.  Whether it was being the kid that helped win a soccer game, playing an arcade game with three of my friends, or rides on the school bus, I was always collecting memories for me to keep and remember.  i used to talk to them a lot to my friends but anyone would get tired of the same story over and over again.  While I still think about these memories (even the ones I just mentioned) today, I have used writing as a tool to record them into something permanent.  I’ve been told that I have a great long term memory but even I am beginning to forget about things in the past.  Writing is one way I can counteract that.

Still, I think about the past way too much.  It’s almost unhealthy.  I should be looking to the future and living in the present.  However, when I write about past memories in some sort of prose, I no longer think about it too much because I know it’s there.  Maybe I keep thinking about it because I don’t want to forget?  Who knows.  The current novella I’m writing focuses on this issue (combined with love, which is very dangerous concoction) so maybe I’ll be less nostalgic after I finish that.  Probably not.  I’m okay either way.

In a conversation, I am unable to explain what I write about it the way I just wrote above.  It usually comes out as “Oh you know, just stuff,” or “Slice of life kind of things, some romance.”  I used to be really hesitant in saying the word romance.  “Maybe they won’t take me seriously”, “They’ll probably think of a harlequin romance book”, “That just sounds really stupid”.  These thoughts would linger in my mind and I would stop myself from saying it.  Nowadays though, I’m better at it.  I still hesitate though because if someone actually wants to explore that topic more, I get really ambiguous.  “Why?” I would tell myself. Someone actually wants to know more about my writing, why wouldn’t I want to share it?

I knew why.  Because I’d be indirectly talking about my love life.  If a writer tells you that a story they wrote wasn’t influenced by or wasn’t based on some aspect in their life, then they’re probably lying to you.  I think our lives clearly influence what we write about, whether it’s some weird dream we had or a moment in your life that was memorable to you or whatever other reason.  The interested person wouldn’t know why I might get quiet, but I would.  I always found that to be funny because it’s not like a lot of people knew about specific details about my love life; they wouldn’t be able to guess that it’s me that I’m writing about.  I try to keep it that way; I try not to kiss and tell (too much). It does affect what I write about though.  I’m not saying that I write word for word about some girl I used to like/go out with and just change the names.  That’s too boring. I could just write on a journal or blog for that.  What I like to do is collect all my thoughts and feelings I have had at various points in my life (whether it’s love-related or not) and make a story out of it.  Maybe some things were based on my life.  But they wouldn’t happen the same way.  They might even go in a complete opposite way. Instead of the man denying the advances of a girl he doesn’t like, he accepts them.  The two enter a bizarre relationship rather than avoiding it completely.  That’s just an example.  I’m opening myself a bit more nowadays if I ever get into this type of questioning , so I hope that trend continues.  I mean, I’m not just writing some book for no one but me to read it.  I’m going to show it to everyone eventually, what’s answering a few questions going to hurt?

So I suppose that’s what I write about.  If I could only find a good way to say all of this in a few sentences, maybe I won’t freeze up in the next conversation.  Writing this has given me a few ideas though.


4 responses to “What I Think About When I Think About Writing: What Do You Write About?

    • You mean you already know about my marital affair novel? Damn it!

      I haven’t published anything yet, mainly because I haven’t revised/edited stuff I have finished. I have the bad habit of jumping to the next project as soon as I finish with the previous one. I’ll probably start revising this fall though…

  1. I get that question “what do you write about” more often than not. The thing is that I am incredibly shy about my writing, and have only shown a few people my non-humorous works. Mostly because I feel I can’t write honestly if someone I know is going to be reading it….I don’t like love stories, but I understand the slice of life thing, it’s a mantra of sorts of mine. I like to look at people across the aisle on a train and imagine what their story is…because everyone has a story…

    • I do the same thing, which is why I like to people watch. I get a lot of ideas sometimes. I feel you when it comes to sharing stories as well…but I’m slowly getting over that fear and not caring what anyone thinks about what I write. It’s easier said than done though.

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