Write What You Know

I’ve seen this advice in many places: write what you know. This doesn’t mean we should all go out and pen memoirs about our lives, because frankly, most of us are as dull as the notches on Betty White’s bedpost. What it means is that we should use our personal experience to frame our stories.

But here’s the problem: what if your most exciting personal experience was the time your best friend almost sat next to Steven Tyler on a plane? Does this mean you should give up writing and concentrate on macrame instead?

In my opinion, no. Of course, I’m the one whose best friend almost sat next to Steven Tyler on a plane… Back to you. If you think you have no interesting personal experiences, maybe you need to dig a little deeper. For example:

1) Where are you from? What is the most unique thing about this place?
2) What do you do best? What is your greatest talent/skill/interest?
3) What is the most interesting thing about your family?
4) What is the most tragic thing about your family?
5) If you met someone new, what is the first thing you would tell them about yourself? What is the last?

One–if not all–of your answers is interesting. The question now is: do you have the guts to write about it, because maybe what you are thinking is not that you don’t have any interesting personal experiences; it’s that you don’t have any interesting personal experiences that YOU WANT TO SHARE. Is this wrong? Of course not. Is it a crutch? Only you can decide.

Category: On Writing