Poor Winston Churchill: Drawing From Experience to Influence Your Writing

Previously, I talked about how movies, TV shows, and other media influence our writing process. Today, I want to talk about how your own past can influence your muse. I want to touch on things that not only inspired me to write about, but briefly shed a light on how some of the best have drawn from their lives.  The written page can also transcend to the big screen when it comes to this.
My first example comes from the “king” of horror himself, Stephen King.  When reading one of his novels, I came across an excerpt regarding his thoughts on personal inspiration.  He disclosed that when he wrote Pet Sematary, he was inspired by events of his own life. He went into detail about the setting of the story and how it related to the very home that he and his family purchased a very long time ago.

A True Horror Classic

Some of the details that he disclosed involved the big rig trucks featured in both the book and the movie. So, you might have been sitting on your couch in front of the TV or resting on your bed after reading a few chapters when thinking, “Where does he come up with this stuff?” Indeed, some of the best don’t even have to tap into their imagination to come up with the material for their manuscript or screenplay. He got away with it, but was honest in the process, giving credit to his own past experiences. Now, I would like to share with you a couple of personal experiences that influenced me to write. One of these moments came from a dream I had as a young adult. I wrote a scene recently about a robot from the future. In the dream, he was slowly making his way in the direction of the story’s main protagonist. Even though this dream lasted just seconds, it inspired me to write about it more than 15 years later! It was the perfect fit. I was able to successfully draw upon the dream and make sense of the narrative at the same time. A second experience I had was based on an early childhood memory. My recall is not that bad as I was able to use an event from when I was about three years old. I was in the pool messing around with the other kids. I mixed it into the protagonist’s life story and it once again fit like a glove! A good memory can go a long way and help to inspire even the most minute experiences in your manuscript or screenplay. Whether you’re Stephen King or even a writer who has yet to be published, these examples will hopefully inspire you to tap into a part of yourself that has been dormant for quite some time. Also, maybe something tangible like a high school yearbook or a class photo can help your muse. Just remember the next time you write, keep that pen or cell phone handy. Even an idea within a fleeting moment might change the direction of your work.