Every writing class or workshop I have ever attended has taught the same phrase until it is embedded in my head. Write what you know.
It is interesting to me to go back and read articles that I had to research for, and then articles based on my own experiences or knowledge. Guess which ones are better? The ones where I was writing something I already knew about, the stuff that was already experienced.
The researched articles are good, don’t get me wrong. I was paid, so I wrote my best, but the information and the way the articles are written when I am using first hand knowledge are so much different than those that needed research or leg work to get answers to questions.
Why am I even talking or even ranting about this? Because lately I have spent a great deal of time rummaging around websites, reading articles and blog posts by people who are supposedly experts in these areas. It is clear in most cases, that they are not. That isn’t to say they aren’t interested in the topic, but clearly more first hand experience would be helpful. It is also obvious when research has been done, especially if I do know something about the topic, because often information is inaccurate or outdated, yet presented as if it is current and fresh.
It makes me sad that more people don’t spend time writing what they know, and not trying so hard to write whatever. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t do research and write articles on new topics and areas, only that your best material will be that, which you write on your own experiences.
What are your thoughts on this?