Be Daring — Write about What You Don’t Know!

You know how everyone tells you to write about what you know?

That’s a big fat lie that, if you have believed till now, you must erase from your system.

I’ve read many articles lately that suggest writers write about what they “know best,” as it is safer that way.

Well, if that’s what you think, I’m not judging you. In fact, I believed it, too. But now, I’ve come to a different conclusion: be daring! Dare to write about things you don’t know perfectly, or which you didn’t experience personally; write about things that might disturb the others, write harsh truths and soft apologies.

Writing has a life of its own — only be experimenting and trying one can learn something.

I think that, as a writer, one cannot evolve unless he attempts to write about problems that he cares about, although he wasn’t the subject of it.

I find the statement ridiculous now because only by trying to understand and write about a subject you don’t know well you can evolve. During my writing process, it happened several times that I wanted to insert paragraphs about things I didn’t know, but my character should have known. It’s alright — some research did the job. Indeed, it takes some time; it’s not like I click on the first link I see available and that’s it, but in the end, it was worth the struggle (not to mention I knew something new, too).

That brings me to my second point: every writer wants to have interesting characters, which are different from his previous works. At some point, you’ll want to write about a nurse, an accountant, a producer or a cinema star. I doubt you know indeed how their lives would look like (unless you know so many typologies of people that it’s not a problem for you to find out, in which case, would you mind giving me a call and let me know how you met all of them? Haha.), but it doesn’t have to stop you from writing them in a realistic manner.

Research. Research. Research.

Let’s make it clear: I don’t say that writing about what you know best is wrong; but if you write only about what you know, it might become boring for both you and the reader. Improvement comes from challenges, not from the comfort zone.

It’s hard, and I know it. But if you wish to be a good, life-time writer, it’s an insignificant obstacle and nothing more.

Be daring!

Rebecca Radd Signature



The Efficacy of Writing Prompts

I will be honest.

When I’ve heard for the first time about the “writing prompts challenges”, which purpose is to help the author overcome the writer’s block, I thought it was a big fat lie.

I know it is not the nicest thing to say, but it was really my opinion.

I mean, choosing an object or a sentence – or even several words with no connection in between; yes, I’ve also seen this case – and trying to write a coherent, logical and quite well-structured text appeared impossible. Call me crazy, but I was thinking “How could writing a story about a cat, a red shoe, and a Rubik cube help me develop my story?”

If you think so too, stay tuned; I might change your opinion in few more paragraphs.

Writing something different

I don’t know about you, but when my story seems stuck up, I become obsessed with it. I try my hardest to find a solution. I encourage you to give it a thought, as inspiration does not always come all of a sudden; however, writing something different might be what you need.

First of all, writing – even if not the next chapter of your novel – still counts as writing. Believe me: the more you write, the better you get at it.

You shouldn’t let your current project drain you out of energy and be in a bad mood. Don’t you have a clue about what you should do next? What about taking a break and clearing your mind?

Not only are writing prompts fun to do, but they are also challenging. They force you to think outside the box and to link together things you wouldn’t see in another context. These prompts have the power to help the author grow without him even realising it.

Try this: for a week straight, write every single day a one-shot. You can choose your prompts from the Internet, there are several sites you could access. I will also add at the end of the article a list of seven writing prompts I dare you to try writing about.

You’ll be impressed with the results. From my own experience, I must admit: it became easier and easier to create. The first day I spent nearly 30 minutes only planning what I should write. The dots didn’t want to connect – moreover, it was frustrating. But the second day I spent only 20 minutes, and when I reached the seventh day an idea would pop in my mind seconds apart from the moment I had finished reading the prompt.

I am not exaggerating.

You might not write well every day, but you can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page. –Jodi Picoult

The beauty of writing

Every author wants to get published and to have success. Am I right? Unfortunately, in this run towards our dream, we, the writers, might forget why we are writing for. For our own pleasure, for the stories we want to tell and hear, for the people to whom we could reach to. The constant stress of being perfect pushes us away from our real motives.

Through this little prompts, I reminded myself why I am writing in the first place. It’s liberating – and marvellous.

After a week, I felt like I could breathe for the first time. The feelings that I got in that moments couldn’t be expressed in words. They are meant to be felt, not told.

Writing itself, done purely from the pleasure within, has no comparison. Be honest with me, please. Editing, planning, asking for reviews… that world just imprisons you, right?

It’s so beautiful to forget about all the pressure and write without any further planning or consequences.

My own experience

As I’ve told you, I experienced it myself. It was a week of prompts, all regarding a specific fictional couple. I will neither give the name of it nor will I tell you under what pen name I posted it because I want it to remain unknown. It’s funnier that way.

The idea is that I posted one-shots for this couple for a whole week.

You know what happened at the end of the challenge? I was craving for more!

Needless to say, it helped my other projects, too. My mind was relaxed any the ideas were flowing. I am currently working on a fantasy novel and I had some planning to do as the world I will be talking about does not exist and is purely imaginative; I wrote four pages full of ideas for that book!

I was not convinced at first, but these prompts do work in our favour. Give them a try; there’s nothing to lose. But bear in mind that you should start them enthusiastically and not as another “work that you must do”.

Writing prompts:

Day one: theme – family; sister, shoe, book, butterflies

Day two: theme – friendship; necklace, photo, red, “I missed you, buddy!”

Day three: theme – love; lipstick, train, job, high hills, unexpected event

Day four: theme – nature; garden, roses, meditation, exploration, blue

Day five: theme – time; Universe, old man, cigarette, moon, “If only you knew…”

Day six: theme – destiny; dream, ballerina, injury, chance

Day seven: theme – happiness; candy, perfume, sweet tooth, anniversary, rain

Let me explain to you how it is all going to happen – there are many ways for doing this, but I am going to choose my own.

1.You have to pick either the theme of the day or a word, although you could use all of them. If you want to use both the theme and the words, even better!

2.You choose the genre. I would suggest variety. Don’t write only romance or only drama or fantasy etc.

3.The minimum of words is 500. Please, do not go under it.

*Note: If you want to write fan fiction, do so. The characters don’t necessarily have to be original as long as the true owner is stated in a disclaimer at the beginning of the text, along with the fact that you don’t make any profit from it. But I am sure you’ve known that already, haven’t you?

If you decide to post your work somewhere on the Internet, please use the hashtag #rebeccaraddwritingprompt . I would love to read your work so don’t be shy. Still, it’s up to you if you make it public or not. But don’t cheat on yourself – write something.

I am looking forward to reading your work!