16 October 2012

Write What You Know

Write what you know. This is often advice given to people who want to write, but don’t quite know where to start. Some may have ambition to spare, but can’t quite get things rolling, or when they do, they find it careening off in a direction that they are unhappy with. To write what one knows is supposed to help corral ones prose into a direction that they can competently remark on, and give a detailed, and hopefully cogent, piece of writing at the end of the day.
This, like many things, is all good in theory.
I love writing, and I want to write more and more as the days go on. I find myself in the curious situation of wanting to write, and (I think) improving my writing every day, and yet I have nothing to write about. I am not in school or university anymore, I don’t have a job that requires me to utilise any of the things I have been learning about the proper application of the English language (indeed, I have been told to tone down my use of ‘big words’, lest people don’t know what I am talking about).
So in the past when I didn’t want to write, I had essays demanded of me. Yet now when I have a desire to put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard), I have an annoying lack of venues to expend this on.
That is of course, how things look on the outside. Luckily for me, there is this wonderful thing we call the internet, and the proliferation of tools now available to help me write and put my words out there, regardless of the lack of interest, and lonesome chirping of crickets that await me.
But again I face the conundrum of what to write.
So far I have managed to fill the page with three hundred words of blather, yet a growing word count doesn’t give the same sense of satisfaction as it did in the old days, when I judged my writing solely on its ability to reach the teachers prescribed word limit. Now I want my writing to have a purpose.
So I fall back on to the mantra of writing what I know, only to realise that like a more true to the point Socrates, I know next to nothing. I am aware of the limitations of my knowledge, but this awareness doesn’t really offer any further avenues for me to traipse down.
I know a little about a lot of things, but there are a lot of things I know little about. Two statements that appear very similar, but paint contrasting pictures.
Perhaps this is why for my last NaNoWriMo I focused on a science fiction setting. True there can be a lot of reality packed into such tales; they are after all generally populated by people, with the same virtues and vices known to us. But at the end of the day if you are so inclined you can cram your story full of spaceships, robots and other such distractions in order to invent your own field of expertise. In this sense it is now only important to know what you write, as once thing that is paramount for such self-contained and speculative worlds is a firm sense of consistency.

And so, with my ersatz relaunching of this blog the past day, I will seize this opportunity to refocus the purpose of my blog more explicitly. It is not just an outlet for my thoughts, or a place that I can share some latest news story with my unqualified opinion. Rather it is a place for me to indulge in my passion for writing, and hopefully to help me find what it is I should be writing about.
Thus I am taking a somewhat converse and convoluted position from the title of this post; I am writing in order to find out what I know, so that I can write more effectively.
I hope this will be in some way enjoyable for you too valued reader, and look forward to hearing from you, should the need arise.

No comments:

Post a Comment