Write What You Know? Maybe, Maybe Not.

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by Sheila Pierson

Are you a writer? If so, what do you write about? I’ve often heard the advice to “write what you know” but I was given a new thought to ponder the other day. Someone told me to “write what I believe in.” This made complete sense to me. I’ve often wondered how writing what you know explains science fiction writers. After all, they have no prior knowledge or experience of worlds they invent to amaze the reader and themselves, worlds unknown by anyone. Yet, they stimulate our minds with images never before described, never before seen, never before experienced. Thank goodness! What would we do without these gifted writers?

I think the advice to write “what I believe in” is empowering and very truthful. Sci-Fi writers most certainly believe in what they write about. They believe in their imagination and allow it to take them anywhere it wants to go. Romance novelists believe in romance. Even if they’ve never fully experienced it, they believe in the possibility of true love. Horror writers? I don’t think I want to go there. Much too terrifying for me.

Ok, so now I know I need to write what I believe in, but what is that? What do you believe in? You might initially think you know until you really begin to answer this question. I’m not talking about your faith, necessarily, although it’s as good a topic as any other to write about. I’m talking about those things that make you sit up and take notice. What is it that gets your attention and makes you want to think about it for more than five minutes? What is it that makes you get excited to discuss? These are the things you believe in.

We’re all on a journey, but sometimes we stop and rest and forget who we are. It’s never too late to awaken to new ideas and possibilities, though. I am welcoming each and every one of them. Allow yourself to do the same. Don’t be afraid to discover what you believe in. It may surprise you. Once you know, pick up your pen and write, write, write.

2 responses »

  1. my golden writer’s rule:
    the ‘facts’ should be true – the ‘imagination’ should be convincing – never swap ‘facts’ and ‘imagination’

    David in Maine USA

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