When first starting out on my writing journey, I was told to write what I know. At the time this seemed to be not only quite obvious advice, but also something magical. A secret piece of knowledge plucked straight from the tree in the center of Eden. Yet even after a year of thinking of myself as being a writer, I look back at this advice and can’t help but think, is it really advice?
To write what I know makes sense, after all, I know it, but what if I don’t want to write about that. What if the things I know are boring, like how quickly grass grows, or which wall in a square room is the best to watch the paint dry on.
Personally speaking, I never went to university – and that is a different post in itself – and so have not specialized in anything in particular. In short, I have learned as I have gone, so can say a little bit about a lot, but that it not enough to use as the fuel for a book. Unless you are stranded on an island and in need to make a campfire.
As a result I have decided to take this piece of over offered advice and twist it. Not suit my own needs, but to suit all of our needs. Not at a reader level, or even at an author level, but for our personal needs. Personal growth should always be striven for.
Whatever we are writing, no matter how much we believe we know on the subject, research is always conducted. New discoveries or theories are made every week on topics previously thought to be understood, so why don’t we take this opportunity and use to it its full advantage. Why not take something you want to know, and write about it. You can educate yourself, expand your own personal knowledge base and still write about it. It doesn’t have to be a novel, it could be a short story, or a scene for a blog post. You could even just write a few non-fiction pieces on this new information.
I am fascinated by profiling and crime scenes. I have been since childhood and would have loved to have joined the police force – again, that is another blog post entirely – and so I am planning on researching criminal behavior and basic profiling techniques in order to write my next novel which will look at the devolution of character(s) whilst under stress.
I have a long list of subjects I would love to learn more about, and (thankfully) an equally long list of short-story / character bios / novel plots that can be used to accommodate each of these subjects.
So tell me, what do you wish you had