Write what you know?

In the past, solid writing advice would be to write what you know.  The implication was, if you worked as an A & E nurse, write about hospital life.  You fought in a major war? Write about it.  But….. is this advice now obsolete?

John Grisham was a lawyer so has excellent credentials for writing court room dramas but does experience matter?

I don’t think so.

Stephen King has probably never encountered a murdering clown or vampires.

J.K Rowling has never been to a school specifically for witches and wizards.

J.R.R Tolkien has never lived as a hobbit.

But……..millions of people have bought and enjoyed their books.

Technology has made it easy for us to gain knowledge in a few clicks. Anyone can obtain knowledge about any subject now without any real life experience and write a believable story about it. I understand the need to be factual if something has to be real – matters of law, for example – but otherwise I think it’s time to say goodbye to the old, stuffy advice to write what you know.

It has probably always been obsolete advice, doled out by self-obsessed authors who thought they belonged to an elite group. 

These days, anyone can join the party. Bring your imagination and something to write with and you’re in.  If I read enough about it, I’ll bet I can convince you I’m an astronaut.

Di 🙂


It’s a tough life being a writer….

Tonight I have been reading various articles on the lives and deaths of famous writers.  Perhaps it is a little ghoulish to be reading such things but it is also fascinating at the same time.  The first link takes you to an article about alcoholic authors.  I have read On Writing by Stephen King in which he stated that he used to believe drink and drugs made him a better writer.  Nowadays, he sees things differently.  Anne Rice has also posted a video on YouTube urging writers not to drink.

Personally, I would agree with them.  I have sat down with a drink in the past and the writing gets forgotten about.  The drinking becomes a distraction, a time-stealer.  That time could have been spent writing.  Thankfully I’m not an alcoholic but I can understand that brief feeling that you are saying/writing something meaningful while under the influence; the false belief that drinking makes you more intelligent and talented.

Top 15 Great Alcoholic Writers

This next link is slightly morbid but fascinating at the same time.  A writer dying from cocktail stick injuries is not a common occurrence, I’m sure!

Weirdest Writer Deaths

It certainly made me think about some of my habits.  I will be careful about what goes into my mouth from now on.  I am guilty of holding pens in my mouth but after reading that article, I will not be doing that.  My imagination has me choking on a biro.  I want to be known for living by the pen, not dying by the pen.