Write what you love, the teacher says. Write what you know. That’s good advice as far as it goes.
Something can also be said about writing what you hate. Andrea Latzko went to the Great War and came back broken, physically, mentally and spiritually. His Men in War is harrowing a century later. Dalton Trumbo reached into his heart for his own hatred of war and pulled out Johnny Got His Gun.
Write about what terrifies you — all those horror tales and suspense novels and stories about living nightmares surely came from the depths of the author’s fright or some corner of her mind that is still hiding under the covers.
Find your greatest sadness and your deepest despair, put something to write with in your fingers — pen, pencil, keyboard, voice recorder — and open the tap.
Write what you don’t know, too. I didn’t know rocket science, but I wanted to write a space opera and I knew the power of the imagination is unlimited, so I wrote The Imaginary Bomb, a story where the rockets are fueled by imagination as a power source.
Write what raises your passion. Write what makes you angry or miserable or homicidal — better to pick up a pen than a weapon, better to commit figurative rather than literal.
Write from your deepest place, the place where everything wells up and you have to shout or run or scream because you’re so happy or furious or frustrated or defiant or rolling on the floor laughing.
The words need to come out so much you feel sick? Tap the wells and draw forth what ails you.