If you’re a writer you’ve heard that over and over again in books, blogs, and articles on writing. Hell, even if you’re not a writer you’ve probably heard it. The question remains though, is it good advice?
I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve thought that I should write a book about something I’ve experienced. My clinical depression, dropping out and then returning to high school, being bisexual, my absolutely insane job, being biracial… There should be tons of stuff just waiting for me to write. One of my favorite books I’ve ever written was about a biracial, bisexual chick who was studying child psychology. I loved writing about her but I don’t feel like it was necessarily because we had shared interests and life experiences… I just really liked her as a character. My lead females are always a part of me in one way or another. They may live in a different state, do a different job, and have different lives but there are bits and pieces of me in there. So in that respect I would say that yes, writing what you know can be helpful.
With that said though, I also have to say that writing what you don’t know can be awesome too. My other favorite book I’ve written is about a photographer on a concert tour. That is by all means something I’ve never done. But it was super fun to write and make things up as I went along. That character actually shares my first name so it’s easy to get lost in it and I’ve always thought that being a tour photographer would be the coolest job… But yeah, I made it all up. 🙂 I also tend to write in first person so no matter what my character is named, I become her when I’m writing.
So to write what you know or not? Honestly, I say a little bit of both. Almost everything I’ve tried to write that relies heavily on what I know fizzles and I get stuck on. But if I throw bits and pieces of real stuff in with the made up stuff, I think, at least for me, it works better. I mean, come on, I write a lot of love stories but haven’t had a boyfriend or girlfriend for so many years that I don’t want to type the number. LOL So yeah, I make all that shit up cause I’m definitely not living it! I almost feel like sometimes writing what I know is too hard. I also worry that if for example I write a character based on real life asshattery and it gets published then the person will know I wrote about him/her and hate me for it. LOL Don’t you remember that post on anxiety and overthinking things? Plus, if we write what we know then we can’t have fun things like vampires, warewolves, fairys, and other magical beings, right? Not that I’ve ever written those things, but you know what I mean. 🙂
Clear as mud, right? 🙂 That’s just how I roll!
Let’s see what my girls all think on the subject, shall we?