Writing What You Know … WTF!

It’s an age old axiom among writers: “Write what you know.” Writers are supposed to pick things to write about that they know about. It helps lend itself to authenticity of what your writing. It helps you to have an “original voice.”

I have never understood what it meant. I mean logically, I do. I understand what each of the words mean. I know that the sentence is a statement and not a question. I understand all of that logically. I think where it all goes pear-shaped is in the application of said phrase to said writing.

I try and write a short story about something at work. A guest who goes off the rails or one of my fellow workmates telling me about something that happened to them when they were five. I change the identities to protect the innocent and I begin to write. Usually within a page or so, I’m bored. Bored out of my mind. So I stop. My hard drive is filled with half started projects. Some of them pre-date the last ice age.

Maybe what I’m talking about is inspiration, not work. I mean, if you find your subject matter uninspiring to write about, why would anyone want to read it? Being nice to an author you know only gets you so far.

Oh well, must toil on.


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