Whadda ya know?

One of the most quoted pieces of advice for writers is, “write what you know.”  I hear it over and over.  I see articles written about it.  I understand that the statement is true, but still I keep wondering…what DO I know?

Whenever I’m not sure about something I make lists.  Lists are my friends and they are my way of keeping my part of the world organized and moving forward.  So I sat down determined to make a list about what I know.  A problem arose almost immediately.  Should I list only those things I could consider myself an “expert” in or was it okay to write down stuff I’ve only dabbled in?

I decided to start with anything in which I felt proficient.  This turned out to be a very, very short list.  So I started adding things that I knew enough about to carry my own in a discussion on the subject and then because that list was also very short, I added things I’d just barely tried or heard about.  Could these be considered things I “know”?  How far can I stretch that word “know”?

Feeling somewhat untalented, uneducated and under-lived, I added a word to my “know” list…“research.”  What can I research and get to know?  I felt empowered instantly!  If you don’t know what you’re talking about, people will recognize that.  But if you do your research…you may be able to fool at least some of the readers into thinking you know what you’re talking about.

Start a “know list” .  Your list may be much longer than mine and research won’t have to be added for what you can write about.  Me…I’m headed to the library…reference section.

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