Why You Should Use Your Ancestry For Inspiration

By on January 21, 2021

When it comes to writing what you know, many writers are unsure how personal to go. Writing about experiences is one thing, but writing about our family, particularly when it comes to digging up the past, can feel far more daunting and potentially damaging too. 

However, we all have families. Whether our family life is good or bad, exploring our ancestries and the complexities of family life in our creative work can be so beneficial to both our readers and ourselves. In doing so, we can learn so much about ourselves and create powerful stories that are full of humanity. Ones that our audiences can really resonate with help create a sense of belonging and understanding between the writer and reader, connecting them to past, present, and future and embarking on an important journey together. 

In these uncertain times, stories about humanity are more important than ever. It is human connection evoked through stories that can help inspire, motivate and give courage. Discovering our heritage, learning about our culture and exploring where we came from can be deeply empowering and benefit both writer and reader from an emotional clarity to create meaningful connections to others as well as to places and times gone before us too. 

If we look to our ancestors for inspiration for our writing, we might come across some incredible stories—generations who have survived wars, environmental disasters, diseases, plagues, pandemics. We can investigate different professions they had, interesting journeys they took, and the challenges they overcome to survive. By researching our history, we can make amazing, inspirational discoveries that reveal where we came from and what’s in our blood. Translating that to the page will create great drama and tension, and real human connection, which is so important if you hope your readers will resonate with your story. 

You don’t have to take what happened in the past and write it exactly; you can add creative flair, drama, tweak personas, and so on to make your work of fiction, well, fictional. But the history of our family lines can provide such exciting inspiration that it is well worth investigating your ancestry to uncover some fantastic characters to bring to life on the page. 

Of course, writing about your family should be done with care. Some members of your family may need to be consulted and may feel sensitive about the past. However, learning about family history can also bring families closer together. Providing you consult those involved and try to agree on how you should present your story, you may find that doing so is a positive experience for all of you.

So next time you are stuck for inspiration, why not delve into the past and do some research around your ancestry? You may just strike gold. 

bethany cadman
Bethany Cadman - bethanycadmancreates.com

About Beth Cadman

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