The other day I read a blog post about writing misconceptions. One of the top ones was “write what you know”. The author of the blog called out whoever originally said that, and I totally agreed. I mean if you’re to take it literally, you should have had more ridiculous adventures than Indiana Jones.
Not everyone has taken down corrupt governments as a teen, or fought in intergalactic space battles, or journeyed across the lush rolling hills of a fantasy world. Unfortunately. And while I have personally never done about 98.9999% of the things I write about, there’s a few things I do know.
I know about people. I know about loving adventures. I know about friends. I know about the good and the bad in the world. I know about family. I know about betrayal. I know about faith.
The point is, you don’t have to know how to fly a futuristic space craft. You don’t have to have experienced the life of Ancient Rome.
Write what you do know.
Do you know what it takes to be a friend?
Do you know how hard it is to profess your faith, even if it is just to someone on the street in casual conversation?
Do you know what it’s like to stand by family no matter what?
Do you know what it’s like to absolutely hate or love someone?
Those are things you need in your stories.
And if you don’t know something, be open to figuring it out.
Even if it’s a simple as getting on a rollercoaster to experience it for yourself before you write it. Or the million other crazy things writers will do in the name of “research”. 😛
Have I ever done something completely crazy in order to write a book? Not yet. But I have plans to crawl around inside old aircraft. I have plans to learn martial arts. I have plans to hike up a volcano. I have plans to ride a dogsled and see the Northern Lights.
The point is. Don’t lock yourself up in a room behind the computer or a pen and rely on the magic Google machine to figure it out for you. Get out into the world. Talk to strangers. Run down a sidewalk. Go B.A.S.E. jumping. (I’m kidding. Only do that if you want to. I’ll hold your stuff for you.)
Need landscape or culture ideas? Plan a trip.
Read new books. Read something that’s not in your genre.
Get outside your comfort zone.
If you don’t know how to push yourself, how will you know how to push your characters?
Talk to me! What common writing advice do you struggle with? Ever done something crazy in the name of research?