Ever read this, by Jennifer Weiner? You know how they say "write what you know?" Well, this book does that. The 10th anniversary edition includes a forward by JW who explains how she became a writer and how she wrote this book. The mc is a writer, JW is a writer (even before she became published, she was a journalist). The mc's father up and left one day, JW's father did the same. The mc is close with family and friends and so is JW. This is write-what-you-know.
I finally get it.
Now that I'm 50+++, I understand the need to write what I know now for it to have any effect on my readers. It also has to be humorous. I believe people like to read funny things unless they are reading to learn. (Unfortunately, I'm not sure I'm a funny person so hopefully my characters can help me out with that one.) If I tried to write about a teenager now, it would have to be set in the '70's because that is where I know how to be a 17 year old, suffering from lack of dating and abundant social anxiety, all the while trying to not be the last one to get picked for teams and avoiding that damn dodge ball.
Now I could write about raising kids and pets married, then not married, relationships, shopping, hair color, (still) lack of dating, and a pet peeve currently being turned into a magazine article - what is so wrong with females aging? Shouldn't we be happy we're getting older? It's apparently completely respectable for men and I'm going to crusade that it be okay for women too. But I digress.
Unless you can keep up with the texting habits of today's teen, today's slang, and today's world in general, I think who you are and what you've been through should be what you write about.
Eudora Welty had it right when she said if we lived through our teens we would have enough stories for a lifetime, but a life goes beyond teens. It goes into our 20's, 30's, 40's, and into our 50's, and if we are curious, we will reflect on our personal evolution. Who we became as opposed to who we wanted to be. What our life is compared to what we predicted as teenagers.
That is worth writing about.
Thank you Jennifer, for explaining that to me.