The first thing I was taught once joining the Writing Department at my university was to “write what I know”. This is completely false. Write what you feel, and you will always be happy with the outcome.
Write what you know. I changed my major after about 3 semesters. I took Intro to Creative Writing where I was simply told to write what I know. I have always loved writing, and I only ever wrote what came to mind. The few short stories I wrote in Intro where my absolute worst. It wasn’t that they were poorly written. Grammatically speaking, they were near perfect. It was the simple fact that I found them boring. I had written what I knew, which made me not feel anything special for them. This may be why I am not partial to nonfiction writing.
Once I discovered screenwriting and more advanced fiction classes, I began to realize that I had it right from the beginning. Write what you feel.
Some of my best characters are middle aged men. Tell me something. If I am supposed to write what I know, then how in the world would I be able to create a believable old man? My 24 years of life experience pales in comparison to what he would have under his belt. Yet, I write these characters. I write about Beduins, Gypsies, magic, Blue Blood, Dwarves, Giants, seniors and infants, warriors and vandals, Mystics and Gods. I write from the point of view of animals, villains and heroes, High Priests, mythical creatures, and even the elements. I am none of these things. I am a writer. It is my passion to create worlds. When I say that I write fiction, I mean it in the purest sense. I create my own worlds. How boring of a world would that be if I only wrote what I knew?
For those of you out there who are getting your feet wet, don’t let anyone stifle your creativity. Write whatever you want. When it comes from the deepest corners of your soul, it has no choice but to be amazing.
Until next time…