Regional Writing Covers a Broad Territory
You know that age-old advice, write what you know? Basically every writer who follows that advice writes about their region. And it isn’t necessarily in the form of nonfiction. In fact, writers often set their fictional stories in their town or region. Or, they create a character that comes from their geographic area or travels there. Sometimes, it’s as simple as using memories of growing up in a specific place and incorporating those memories of time and place into a story.
Here’s a bonus for writing about a region: one piece of writing often leads to another. For example, I wrote an article on the Chippewa Indians and how they brought wild rice, a classic Minnesota food item, to the region. That led to two more articles on wild rice, how to cook with it and its health benefits. Those articles made me think about other Minnesota history and native food topics.
So whenever I think I’ve run out of writing ideas, I think of my region. I can write the obvious travel pieces about the fabulous Minnesota lake vacation spots or the great golf getaways or the phenomenal bed-and-breakfasts. But those topics just skim the surface. Minnesota’s rich history and culture, interesting people, ever-changing climate, incredible shopping, and varied industries contain hundreds of ideas to research and write about.
Certainly Minnesota isn’t unique. Every region contains a wealth of ideas for writers. A visit (online or in person) to the local history center, the Chamber of Commerce, the public library, or the state tourism website will prove it. On the other hand, so will a simple journey down memory lane.
(Image: Duluth, Minnesota, by Derek Bakken)