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I know nothing…

When new writers ask seasoned writers for advice one of the biggest clichés tossed out there is, “Write what you know.” To newbies, this sounds like sage advice.

But it’s really just bullshit.

Okay, maybe not complete bullshit. But it IS too often misunderstood or misinterpreted. The aspiring writer will take that to heart, sit in front of blank Word document and realize, much to their horror, they don’t know anything. Or know very little.

Which is why this tired writer’s advice/cliché needs some explaining.

What you know is not limited to your own personal experience. You don’t have to live it to know it. If a friend tells you a story about a hot sexual encounter they had over the weekend with the guy from AAA who changed their flat tire on the highway, going into vivid detail, you now know it. If you read an article about landscaping the backyard, even if you never actually do it, that information is added to the well we writers dip into for story material.  Continue reading