Write What You Know

I have been scouring the internet looking for more “inspirational quotes” as I seem to get the most clicks onto my Blog for those and I think people really like them.

I found that the most common, famous quote for many writers who are trying to inspire fellow pen smiths appears to be

“Write what you know”

Many famous authors, poets, journalists, etc, have said this, and to a certain degree, I think it is really valuable advice. Sometimes it seems obvious that a writer would find it easiest to write about their life, their experiences, their opinions… but the fact is, “easiest” is not always best.

So, my “inspirational quote” for you today is not that of a famous writer, but that of my own, from me, aspiring writer, to you, my fellow aspiring writers, or even to those of you that are already professionals in the field.

“Write what you do not know”

Illisia Adams

“Why advise this?” you might be questioning me presently. I shall answer.

A good writer writes well when they are writing from their personal experiences and opinions (etc). A great writers writes from the experiences of others, from their imagination, from outside their comfort zone.

I think that this is especially important for journalists. I have read so many articles in the past where the writer is clearly of a certain opinion, writing about an event or a film or a lifestyle, etc, that is not to their taste, and although it is their professional requirement to be neutral, especially when they are an informative journalist (as opposed to a journalist who reviews films, for instance), many seem far too opinionated.

I have been writing a lot of articles about my opinion on certain topics, and as much as I feel this is my strongest writing, I have looked at my work and have decided (as I posted about recently) that I need to test myself, to stretch my experience and knowledge, to delve into more factual articles that require much research, quotes, etc. What good am I as a journalist if I cannot vary my writing for different topics and styles? Inside the press room, your Editor will give you a task, and you do it. You do not complain that it is not something that you are interested in, and the finished product should always be something that you can be proud of, that you can say you put all your heart into, even if it was difficult.

Even writers of fiction should heed my advice. C S Lewis, best known for his Narnia books, was also a writer of science fiction. Steven King, the best selling horror author in history, has also written some stunning thrillers which have been made into successful films. Yes, fantasy was Lewis’ strongest genre, and horror will always be King’s, but even they knew this…

“A good writer writes well when they write what they know… but a great writer writes well when they write what they don’t.”
Illisia Adams


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