Should it be a general rule to write what you know? For informational writing, yes, of course, you write what you know. You research, you learn and you share this knowledge with others. What about fantasy, mystery, science fiction… do we still write what we know?
I have been a writer since I was a little girl. I remember writing a story about a scary face in the window. It’s a silly story, it didn’t make much sense, but reading it as an adult I’m left with this lingering worry. What was that scary face in the window? Why was it there? Why wasn’t the main character more disturbed by it? Is it because that sort of thing happened a lot? I don’t know. I am left with all of these questions that I need an answer to. Well I am the author, maybe I should find out!
What kind of nonsense was going on in my head as a child? I don’t know! I remember being a pretty care-free kid. At least until I got to be a teenager of course, I turned into a tiny ball of anxiety.
Although I have been a writer forever, I have allowed myself to be that tiny ball of anxiety for far too long. I absolutely love writing stories. I love reading books about princesses who are hidden, lost or about girls of all ages who reach their hidden potential and realize that they are a kick butt female who can do anything they put their mind to!
My dream is to write stories and share them with people all around the world: stories about people who are strong and fierce, but kind, loyal and humble as well. I want to write stories about real people, but in places and times where I have never been. Is that possible?
Of course! There are countless fantasy worlds that have been created from the tiniest seed of an idea inside the author’s mind. For me, it can start as a general feeling as I’m walking down the street, or while I’m washing the dishes or in the tubby. I love taking a bath. I always end up getting the best ideas, but my hands are wet, I have nothing to write on… excuses!
When people said, “Write what you know,” I used to think that they meant write about your life, and that’s it. I have come to realize though, that it means you write about the themes, the ideas and the circumstances that are swirling in your head. You write to make sense of the world and your place in it. You write to make people understand that there is so much more to the world than this.
Our lives can be magical, joyful, suspenseful, and truly delicious in a creative and full way. We need to allow ourselves to be expressive. As a writer this means taking the time to write. Take no prisoners, unless that’s part of your plot. Make a goal to stave off the excuses and just write!
How do you feel about writing what you know? What positive experiences have you had by pushing past your inner critic to keep writing?