#IWSG – Write What You Don’t Know

Perhaps the worst advice possible given to new writers, “Write What You Know”. It seems innocent enough. All of us know something, so use what you know as a story. While I agree for someone starting out to use this advice, I hate it for any writer moving on from beginner to novice.

We live in a day and age where information comes at us from all directions. Any time I am faced with not knowing something, I got a phone connected to the internet. Know how late a store is open, where a friend lives, or the difference between jam and jelly, I now become all knowing. With so much knowledge, we can teach ourselves anything, and become experts of a variety of things much quicker than say anyone a hundred years ago.

Very recently, I released a beginner’s guide on Bitcoin. A year ago I knew nothing about Bitcoin, and while I wouldn’t currently call myself an expert, I now know enough to fill a book. What enabled me to do that was me being hired to ghostwrite a book on Bitcoin. Within 2 weeks I had to research about the subject and write 20k words. Not easy.

I decided to release my own book on the subject, taking a much different approach from the previous book.

The point of this is not to advertise my book. I won’t even put the book on this site, as it detracts what this site is about (I’ll at least link to it). The point is to demonstrate that I can start with nothing and tech myself enough to get something together. Another example was my Daygar series. When I started, I realized I knew nothing of the Middle Ages, the bubonic plague, or even France. Yet, I was still able to write a book on it. How? Research.

I spent 10 months doing research on what was necessary for my book, and it paid off. I know quite a bit about that time period, and can make my story fit in with history.

To write only what you know is extremely limiting, and there is no reason you can’t pick a topic and write about it. You practically have all the knowledge of mankind at your finger tips, so the question for you writer: what do you do with that power? What story do you write with nothing holding you back?

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