‘Write What You Know’ is a technique to develop writing skills. Many biggies of the writing field recommend its use to create interest in writing.
More often than not, beginner writers get stuck at the very first point – inability to think of a topic to write on. ‘Write what you know’ is a solution at this point.
It suggests taking cue from what you already know. This means, you need not venture in the vales of imagination to find new pastures. Just dip yourself into your knowledge, memories or more generally, the life that you have lived so far. And you will get seeds to grow, nourish and turn into trees (speaking about writing, not gardening! 😂😂) .
Write What You Know Meaning
Newbie writers are advised to write on the aspects from their real lives and things and people around them. That means, they are supposed to explore the knowledge they already possess and create interesting and readable content from there. This technique is called the ‘write what you know’ technique.
Does ‘Write What You Know’ Make Sense?
The great Indian saint Swami Vivekanada has said,
All knowledge that the world has ever received comes from the mind; the infinite library of the universe is in our own mind.
It is because whatever we get to study or whatever we see and learn, is either our or someone else’s brainwork.
Hence, the above view seems to support the ‘Write What You Know’ method. If you are still somewhat skeptical about the merit of this technique, let me inform you that there are foolproof writing courses based on this technique. For example, I have mentioned such a course in one of my articles.
You may visit the post here: Free Creative Writing Courses
3 Reasons to go for Write What You Know
Starters in the writing field often get blocked at the very outset. At this point, where nothing seems to work, they may reminisce their past and coin incidents that have the potential to turn into interesting topics for writing.
Readers enjoy reading fiction and non-fiction which are closer to reality. Articles developed by ‘Write What You Know’ are definitely very near to the truth simply because they are indeed true events picked from the writers’ lives.
When you use this writing technique, you get to cite examples in abundance because the very basic of ‘Write What You Know’ technique relies on real life incidents. The data and facts that you provide, are from your own life and so their veracity cannot be denied.
The steps of the Technique
Dive into your childhood memory or think about a high school teacher or recall what happened when you visited a doctor. As a matter of fact, any petty incident makes a cut as long as you think you can create content with the matter.
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In the next step, try to reproduce the entire incident in your mind. Make a plan as to how you would put it on paper. Decide which details would come first and which ones would make a good climax. Apart from that, make a choice of words, clauses and types of sentences that would fit into the mood and tone of your piece perfectly.
Next, write the outlines. This is important because while you narrate the event later, you can focus entirely on the writing part. You need not bother about what your story would contain.
The last part is not necessarily a step of ‘write what you know’. Nonetheless, it has the capacity to take your write-up to the ignition temperature. ‘Imagination’ is the name. Add a little imagination to to ‘what you know’ if you are writing a fiction. If you are writing a non-fiction, you may add little bit of self-help advice, pieces of ethics or rags-to-riches examples etc.
Why do Some Writers Oppose it Vehemently?
Until now, we tried to understand how one can develop one’s writing by way of writing what one knows. We also made a statement about what it means when we say ‘what you know’. And we have construed that it is a way to find topics for writing, improve one’s expression of thoughts and also a technique to enter the arena of serious writing.
Now some contrarian views. There are people who differ utterly. They reason that if writers write only from their bits of life, they would be producing rather mediocre content deficient in the most beautiful component of writing, that is, imagination. They would go on writing on ordinary things in an ordinary way, without caring for exquisiteness in the process. Such articles might seriously lack ‘the interest quotient’.
For example, the tale of Cinderella and her stepsisters was a work of imagination. The author, Charles Perrault had definitely not experienced anything as the peculiar events taking place in the story. Had Charles been a ‘write what you know’ kind of writer, how could he have imagined such a tale?
However, those who side with the ‘write what you know’ technique, argue that the writer knew about greed, jealousy, quarrels that occur among step siblings and he built up his imagination on these basic elements of humanity. He wrote what he knew and conceived an imaginary tale around real human feelings.
Can ‘Write What You Know’ Help Create an Extra-Ordinary Article?
I believe so.
And I believe authors have already created extra-ordinary articles with ‘Write what you know’ in great numbers .
Even if we talk about ‘write what you know’ exclusive of ‘imagination’, we can find out great writing. It is not for nothing that we say ‘Fact is more peculiar than fiction’. The stories hidden in the lives of people have the potential to outdo tales based on imagination.
I would go as far as to say, and it is true, that all the flights of imagination start only on the runways of reality. Reality is supreme and any kind of fancy builds itself up on reality.
Though ‘the sleeping beauty’ was a creation of imagination, yet the writer knew what beauty is and how a kiss imparts love and sensation.
So, start with what you know and ride the wings of fancy. You will surely create content that could become a block buster.