I have a grudge against the phrase ‘write about what you know’.
When people say ‘write about what you know’ I always thought they meant write about what you have experienced, and that is pretty much what the saying says in my opinion. But as a thirteen year old I had experienced precious little and suddenly I hit a mind block. I was convinced that I had nothing interesting to write about, and so I just stopped writing (apart from in my diary, my teen angst needed some kind of outlet). However I now know that the phrase is not meant literally and I actually think it should be scrapped for being so misleading.
I mean do you really believe that J.K Rowling ever had to battle a dark lord who had murdered both her parents? No. I sincerely doubt it, but she probably has experienced all the emotions that are involved in battling a dark lord. Anger, fear, hate, sorrow, anxiety – and that is what counts.
Similarly, as medical students, we are taught to empathise with patients, to put ourselves in their shoes but again we are unlikely to have ever been in their situation, but we have all had moments in our lives when we are scared and worried and we can draw on those emotions to relate to the patients in front of us.
Since my realisation that I don’t actually have to have ridden on the back of a dragon to be able to write about it, I am so excited, there is a whole new world of possibilities. So screw ‘writing about what you know’, write whatever the hell you want.