What Are We Supposed To Write?

Hello Readers,

What should I write?

Write what you know.

Something I keep seeing is that you aren’t allowed to write what you don’t know.

It seems to me that your opinion doesn’t matter if you haven’t been in the situation of the person you’re writing about. And while that might be a bit true in that we can never fully understand what a person might do in a situation if we haven’t been through it as well. But just because we can’t fully understand it, that doesn’t mean we can’t try.

Writing is all about trying to understand things. We write to make order of chaos, to make beauty out of pain, to bring peace in a world where it seems like everyone is dying.

Don’t write what you know, my friends, write what you wish to see. Write about families, if you’re an only child. Write about orphans if you’re never alone. Write about assassins and spies and knights. Write about weavers and blacksmiths and royalty. Write stories that are so fantastic they could never happen. Write magic, write reality, write what makes your soul sing.

Write what you know? I’m a teenager, what do I actually know? As much as I can know, but I am young and the world is so. big. And I want to write about it. I want to write it and I want to write it well. But if I were to just write what I know, I wouldn’t be able to write stories. So research well, obviously, but don’t let anyone tell you that you aren’t allowed to have an opinion on something just cause you weren’t there.

Part of being human is being able to make logical conclusions from facts.

Talk to people who’ve experienced what you want to write, if you can. Read about it, try to experience it yourself. There are plenty of people that are willing to have an open and honest conversation about what their experiences are like and how you can best represent them. Gather your facts, clear your mind of that message you saw or voice you heard that says “write what you know“.

But don’t be scared if you can’t get all the facts, either. Your characters, your book, they are unique. Your character will experience things in a different way than other people will, cause that’s how humanity works. It’s what makes stories so beautiful.

So what should I write?

Well, what do I know?

I know that the world is huge, that knowledge is encompassing, and I know that I am very small in the span of space and time. I know that stories have captured my heart since I was a kid, and I want my stories to capture other little kids’ hearts as well.

~Ruby

What writing advice have you been given/given to other writers that isn’t necessarily true? What’s something you’ve discovered about writing lately that’s been freeing? Is anyone doing Camp NaNoWriMo (and is anyone as unprepared as me)? 

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28 thoughts on “What Are We Supposed To Write?

  1. This is so true! If we stuck to what we have personally experienced, or if we only counted knowledge as the sum of our experience, we would ignorant, narrow-minded, and largely without compassion! Trying to see through another lens and making space for the “other” is not only what makes us human but also what makes us more like Christ! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Yessss! I totally agree. I’d love to do Camp NaNo, but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to, sadly. I’m just so busy and I’d want to put the time and effort into making it a productive experience.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I never really write what I know, unless it’s for school. My writing is supposed to be something so fantastically unrealistic (but still, you know, believable 😂) for people trapped in reality, to give them a small corner of the universe to escape to. I don’t want to ‘write what I know’; I want to write what ISN’T, and what the world calls ‘impossible’.

    Wow, that got poetic. 😂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Whether or not this one is true, “Show don’t tell” and “Said is Dead” While I understand the premise and what they’re trying to say, sometimes you do need to actually ‘show’ the reader something. And if you never use ‘said’ then there’s maybe more than a little bit of editing that needs to be done 😉

    I almost never write what I know. My most complete story to date (which is scrapped/shelved now because I don’t want to work on it any more) featured a young teenage boy, who was a middle sibling, and was dealing with things I myself have never had to deal with. But, some elements of his story I have had to deal with, so I was able to pull from some things I did know, to aid and help along what I didn’t 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. How on earth did I miss this post. How. HOW.

    Ruby, I absolutely LOVE this. I can’t even put it into words. Just YES. YES YES and ALL THE MORE YES. I — a smol, fragile bean — literally know nothing, but I want my stories to be about EVERYTHING. I want to write, and through writing, I want to understand. And I think that’s one of the most beautiful things about stories, really. They help us understand the world around us just a tiny bit better…

    SO THANK YOU. Thank you for this post. It is so beyond encouraging. <333 *hugs* (and also, yes I'm doing NaNo. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA #help)

    Liked by 1 person

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