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Creating Content Out of My Personal Experiences

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

My life experiences throughout my “growing up” years have heavily influenced who I am today and the type of content that I produce. This strategy is very common for many authors, filmmakers and content producers, as it is only natural that the first place you draw inspiration from is your own life.

One of my favorite blogs, “Depois dos Quinze,” (“After Fifteen” in English), is about a girl talking about the things that happen in her life and giving life advice for girls that are her age and a little bit younger. This is similar to my life. I’ve been watching her vlogs, reading her books and blog posts — and now listening to her podcast — since I was a pre-teen. It was like she was my unofficial (online) big sister growing up.

Other than her, one of my favorite books is called “Arabian Nights.” It is an online book published on Radish that tells the story of Laleh and her journey. The book is the second of the Fairytale Series, and this book is a retelling of “Aladdin.” The story follows Laleh’s love story with Zayn but, more importantly, follows her self-discovery journey as she deals with her abusive father, her inner thoughts and demons and learns her purpose in life. 

While the book is fictional, the author has mentioned online before that a lot of inspiration from her scenes comes from real life. Laleh is Iranian-American and the author of the book is Iranian-American, so I can only assume that at least some of the experiences that Laleh goes through are also based on some of the author’s real-life experience as Persian. 

Those are just two examples of content creators that use their own lives as their base for creative content. The same way these two women utilize their personal background and experiences in their writing, I apply my own personal experiences in what I am writing.

Coming from a Brazilian background and being very involved in the Latino community at Penn State, most of the times that I am creating a story, one of my characters is Brazilian. It is not always that the character is specifically Brazilian, but there is always some characteristics to the character that helps identify them as Latino.

Another point is that I always have to put some sort of politics in my writing. I am an international politics major, and writing about international affairs is my passion. Whether the character is a DACA recipient, faces immigration issues or some sort of discrimination, I always try to tie my stories to some broader political issue that I am passionate about. After studying a lot about certain issues and having the desire to spread awareness, it is only natural that they shine through my stories. 

The final point would be that I am a hopeless romantic. My favorite thing about “Arabian Nights,” for example, is that the book contains self-discovery and women empowerment. It deals with political issues such as Iran-United States issues and fights Arab stereotypes (Zayn is Arab), but a part of the story also focuses on Zayn and Laleh’s relationship.

I am just like the goddess Taylor Swift: no matter how we got involved if we were ever together at some point, you will become a character in one of my stories. If not a full character, at least some of our interactions might become scenes in the stories.

To me, having some of my experiences reflected in my writing is important to not only share my voice with the world, but it might also help people with similar experiences to relate to my stories. I hope that just the way people can relate to “Depois dos Quinze” and “Arabian Nights,” other people can relate to my stories and the message that I am trying to share. 

Renata is from Amazonas, Brazil, and studies international politics and broadcast journalism at Penn State. Her hobbies include reading and writing, editing pictures, and dancing for fun. She likes to learn new languages, currently speaks four, and is trying to learn a fifth. Fun fact: she wrote a book, but let’s not talk about that.
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