Write What You Know or Know What You Write?

Professional —  and aspiring — writers often hear the advice, “Write what you know.” After all, an avid mystery reader is more likely to write a believable mystery novel than someone who reads only science-fiction, the resident of a small town in a Southern state will probably describe the lifestyle of Small Town, Southern US more accurately than a person who has never left the environs of a big city in the North, and an experienced pet-owner is apt to write a better article on how to keep your cat happy than an individual who has never owned an animal.

If you are writing a book or a magazine article, “Write what you know” may be excellent advice.

However, many people don’t have the luxury of choosing the topics of their writing. You may be a student assigned to write an essay on a specific subject or an employee told to write a speech for your boss. When you can’t “write what you know,” then you must “know what you write.”

And there’s no better way to “know what you write” than to follow the research tips in my ebook Finding the Information You Need — Research Tips for Your Family, Business, or Personal Pursuits. You can learn to find information in the library, on the Internet, and from less obvious places, such as other people.

“Write what you know” or “know what you write”? Either works — just don’t try to write what you don’t know!

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