“Write what you know.”
This is one of the most prevalent writer pieces of encouragement that I have heard. I can’t even begin to tell you the amount of times I have heard it, read it and said it to myself. It wasn’t until a year or more ago that I put my foot down.
If everyone wrote what they knew, what on earth would we have? Hardly any historical fiction for one. And fantasy would be a figment of the imagination. And that, my friends, is what this piece of advice will do to you.
It kills imagination.
We can’t write everything we know. Where would be the imagination, the dreams, the exciting new fancies if we did that?
God gave us beautiful minds. And He filled them with dreams. He made it so we could dream, create, build and imagine marvelous things that no one else can. If we decided to write only things that we know, then that would be going to waste. A beautiful gift from God that we would be throwing away like garbage.
There is a small bit of truth to the statement to write what you know. But really, we always do that. What we know and have learned flows subconsciously into our work. We have all felt bitterness, fear, anger, betrayal, happiness, joy, sorrow, excitement etc. We may not have been a knight in the kings army who’s father betrayed him and joined the opposing side. But we have felt similar feelings. We are born with those. We are humans. That being said, we mustn’t take this phrase out of context.
We can write what we know while writing what we don’t know.
So don’t let that phrase kill your imagination. The admonition to only write what you know is a foolish one and something that should not be believed in. Write what God puts on your heart. What you fancy. Write what inspires you. What impassions you. Write what is dear to your heart. There can be no greater reward than that.
Have you heard this phrase? What are your thoughts on “Write what you know.”
By God’s Grace,