Write What You Know
Writers get this advice from everywhere. Books, writing teachers, facebook posts, twitter tips, and “helpful” friends. I don’t know who started or where or what thought was behind it. I was very surprised when a writing instructor I had announced writing what you know was necessary. The lesson of the day was that you needed to know the smell, taste, sounds, textures, and sights before you can start writing about something. The whole class went to an area with more sights, smells, tastes, sounds, and textures than our regular classroom and we were supposed to write using those to show that we needed to write what we know.
But if I only wrote what I knew I would never write a word. Sure, I collect weird facts but those aren’t really enough to write whole stories on. I don’t even know my characters before I start the story. I get to know them as I write. Unlike a piece of advice I read, I don’t know the name of their third grade teacher. If I knew that the characters wouldn’t be a fun for me to write.