grammarnovel writingWriting Fear Free

Write What You Know?

Every writer has heard this piece of advice. Write what you know. It makes sense. The easiest and most truthful writing comes out of our experiences. But, taken at face value, this advice has always seemed to limit my writing.

What do I know? I know horses, grammar, and the differences between Southern and Northern culture. I know how to play the flute. So does that mean I’m limited to writing only about these things? Do I have to write a contemporary novel about horses or grammar?

Lord, I hope not.

What do I read? I read murder mysteries, but I’ve never committed or solved a crime of that sort. I read historical novels, but I’m not a historian. I’ve read romances, spy novels, and even a little Southern fiction. But I’ve already found Mr. Right, I’m not a spy, and I am not truly Southern.

But what is constant over every book is human interaction. I think that’s what “write what you know” really refers to. Write out of your human experience, your interactions with others, your fears, worries, and joys, but don’t limit yourself to writing about the facts you already know. Write about what you want to know, and learn about it, but base your writing in what you know about the world and people.

So I say write what you love–whether mysteries or romances or paranormal futuristic parodies–but write them out of the experiences and truths that you know just from being you.

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