“Write about what you KNOW”

If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy. – Dorothy Parker

Let’s talk about writing a bit, shall we? College is a great place where you get to meet people every single day that have dreams and aspirations, even if they don’t know where those dreams will take them. In my Spanish translating and creative writing class the professor told us to, “Write about what we know.” I thought this was really interesting, especially since every published writer I know has said this to me. (A total of 3 professors)
Sitting here brainstorming my blog post, I wondered, why? Why do we write about what we know and what is it that we know? Also, how do we know that we know enough about a subject to justify us writing about it? I understand if that was hard to follow, but these questions were persistent in my head.
So I took to the internet! And I did not find exactly what I was looking for but I found some pretty interesting quotes and tips. I’m going to share with you what I’ve learned from these people.

Things to think about:

1. Take the time to reflect on why you are writing about something.
Does it make you feel better to vent about it, or is this for society’s greater good? Our motivation to write is often not the same reason for writing overall. I personally write to better myself, to vent, and because I enjoy it. Things change, you will change. The process of writing will change you and you may or may not notice it.

2. What risks are you willing to take on this subject?
If we are, in fact, writing about what we know then are we willing to break out of that comfort zone? Or are you writing about it because despite your knowledge of the subject, it is not easy to address? I write about a lot of things that upset me or make me uncomfortable just because I have to in order to emotionally move on. Writing is my process.

3. Are you willing to write complete crap?
Not everything you write is going to be your best work. Are you willing or prepared to read something that just completely sucks? Because nine times out of ten what you write is going to be terrible. But then one day a pearl or a diamond of words will translate from your brain to the page and you will treasure and revisit it forever. It will make all the bullish* worth it. I swear, it will.

4. Writing advice. Take it with a grain of salt.
I know I may seem hypocritical in saying this, being an advice-based blog. However, experienced writers most-likely don’t know how they got experienced or successful. All they know is whatever they did, it worked for them. If you ask them, they’ll eagerly tell you “what worked” but suggest that you find your own way because every writer is different.

5. You are a copier. Just accept it.
This is not a fact I’ve gleaned from this website of quotes. In another creative writing class I’m taking the professor’s suggested that our poetry style mimics what we’ve read and the work of other poets that we enjoy reading. It was then that I realized my writing style has changed significantly in the past 2-3 years. I am subconsciously following the form of some of my favorite authors, and it’s kind of embarrassing. Eventually I got over it, and you will too. This is what art is, feeding off of other people for inspiration. And it’s beautiful.


I hope this helped you guys. I am clearly learning a lot about writing and the process this semester. I’m sorry my posts are always so long I guess I have a lot to say. Just as a heads up on the website mentioned earlier, my favorites are numbers: 3, 4, 6, 11, 12, 18 and 20. I know it’s a lot. Enjoy your Sunday, guys!

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