Write what you know. That's the advice every new writer receives along with their first notebook. What you know.
Most of us try and write what we like. Adventures, romances, epic coming of age fictions or fantastical voyages away from where we live. Or, some go the poetic route and fill notebook after notebook with clumsy poetry and we feel mirrors the pain and angst of growing up in the place we are. Lusting for the world beyond our town, beyond our lot, and beyond our years. The scope of the world inside the written realms of imagination are boundless and we all try and tackle it on our first times out the gate.
My favorite thing to write were clumsy homages to Anne Rice, Stephen King, Charlaine Harris and Terry Goodkind. Of course, I had also grown up on a steady diet of X-Files and philosophical discussions with one of my older brothers. Needless to say, as I've never been published, is that these works have never gone very far.
After over 30 years on this rock, I've decided to start over a bit. Write what you know...
What happens when you realize you don't know anything? (Or, even worse, that you don't know anything worthwhile?) According to Plato, thats a good thing. He tauted the concept that true wisdom comes with the knowledge that you know nothing. Maybe I'm becoming wise from all the recent set-backs I've been going through. Sounds good, though. There are few things worse than having to learn a lesson several times. Sometimes you have to make the same mistake a few times before you realize the problem isn't the other people. (Raises hand... yep, thats me.)
The problem is, how do you monetize wisdom? We live in a world where money rules. Then comes the question of happiness and following your dreams. In the words of Craig Finn from The Hold Steady: "Dreams they may cost money, but money costs some dreams."
The one thing that no one can really take away is writing. My thoughts and feelings and passions and foibles and bravados and stupid insecurities are all fuel for art. The most beautiful art springs from pain and life is a minefield of these painfully inspiring experiences.
Write what you know. I know that I've been telling myself stories since before I could talk. That, combined with experience and a love/fascination with people has led to this renewed desire to write. What do I know? I know people... I know what we like to hear, and what they'd do anything to never find out about. I know what people yearn for and what they shy away from. What ignites passion and elicits fear. I think its time I wrote some of this down.