“Write What You Know” is Not Good Writing Advice #motownwriters

You’ve heard it before: Write what you know.|

I wonder what you think of that, because, frankly, I don’t think much. I’ve been known to pooh-pooh it as well-meaning but ultimately second-rate advice. It’s reassuring to hear, and probably reassuring to say, but I believe it misdirects beginning writers and costs them time. It cost me time. If I could tap myself on the shoulder—my younger self, setting out across seven states to start my MFA—I’d say, “Be careful with that one; it’s not what you think.”

So what is it? An instruction, a rubric, a dictum? Rummage around in your thesaurus a little, and you might land on “Adage: a proverb or short statement expressing a general truth.” To the left and right of this you’ll find axiom, aphorism, platitude, maxim, and even apophthegm, a doozy from the Greek apophthengesthai, meaning to speak out, that spins you around and shoves you right where you started, back at maxim and aphorism again. Write what you know is all of these. It is simultaneously broad and narrow; it sounds universal and trustworthy, and is therefore easily mistaken for a magic pill.

read more ; http://lithub.com/write-what-you-know-is-not-good-writing-advice/

Categories: Notes| Resources, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

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One thought on ““Write What You Know” is Not Good Writing Advice #motownwriters

  1. Reblogged this on Don Massenzio's Blog and commented:
    Write what you know…Is it good advice? Not according to this post on the Motown Writers blog


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