"Write What You Know..." and Other Good Advice (That Actually Works!)
After 40-odd years in the writing biz, I have had the opportunity to share ideas and wisdom with a lot of other writers, from a lot of different walks of life.
One of the truisms I most often bump into is "Write What You Know."
It seems like a fairly logical piece of advice that can actually be applied to a broad range of fields, if you substitute in different words instead of "write."
Logical as it may seem, a surprisingly large number of people choose to mostly ignore it and instead go out on all sorts of strange limbs.
"I just get bored" is a common one; another speaks to the importance of "being well rounded." The shortcoming of both those lines of thought is that they place the enjoyment of the writer ahead of the reader.
As a once-upon-a-time technical writer, I went down the "well-rounded" path and really didn't like it very much. I tried writing about sports, and even though I like sports well enough, my heart wasn't in it. I wasn't "into" it, like those guys who live, eat and breathe sports around the clock. I tried writing about movies and music... but the genres that generate readership bored me to tears.
The thing about writing what you know is that your writing tends to "come to life" when you're genuinely interested — and even passionate — about something.
And that's what makes it good.
Maybe it's easier for me to say that, now that I am back to working as a book editor (when I can get the work), and given that I spent a number of years as a professional grader of written exams.
One of the tough realities I had to face with that particular gig was that even though I could tell the difference between an essay that was in the top 1% and one that was in the top 10%, the vast majority of the world actually doesn't care about the nuances that separates the exceptional from the merely good... a consequence of the separate reality that the vast majority of reading is done not for enjoyment, but as a requirement.
Excellence doesn't matter a whole lot to someone who's just trying to wade through to the end of some information...
Still, might as well do the best we can, going on the assumption that now and then there will be a few who are genuinely touched by our words and thoughts.
They are the ones who'll come back for a second look. Not the "waders."
Thanks for stopping by, and have a great remainder of your week!
How about YOU? Why do YOU create content? Do you focus on what you know best? Comments, feedback and other interaction is invited and welcomed! Because — after all — SOCIAL content is about interacting, right? Leave a comment — share your experiences — be part of the conversation!
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Created at 20210916 00:15 PDT