Moving Beyond, “Write What You Know”

Question what you know by Qimono CC0 Public Domain from Pixabay

Writing is a great challenge for many people even to write about subject matter that is famil­i­ar to them.


New Ground

Beyond what you knowA good writer will from time to time be asked to write beyond what they know. This was inspired by a great article, written a couple of years ago, by writer Marilyn Davies. Sadly I am unable to find the origin­al post — so a link is no linger feasible. My purpose today — to add something to this piece and make the thoughts more power­ful. The challenge she faced: a request to write about a subject she was unfamil­i­ar with.

Writing about what you know almost becomes second nature. Indeed blogs tend to force the writer to special­ise. It is the nature of the beast, once you have become a serious writer and have chosen to regularly contrib­ute through a blog, profes­sion­al journ­al, etc. Yet the need to stretch the limits are always there.

Like a zoolo­gist being asked to discuss botany. Of course they know something about the subject, because they know animals eat and inter­act with plants. Because of their knowledge of animals and their habit­ats they should know something about the related plant-life. Their knowledge focuses on a differ­ent aspect. However, arguably it is still valuable.




People make new discov­er­ies all the time. To make them it is essen­tial to think differ­ently. Sometimes it takes a special­ist from one background to change something in anoth­er area of knowledge. They apply what is to them common-sense to their discip­line may become a revolu­tion­ary step to anoth­er. A logic­al choice for one person is a leap for anoth­er.

A meteor­o­lo­gist made a sugges­tion that led to the discov­ery of plate-tectonics, the cause of the motion of the contin­ents.

There are many subjects where special­ist knowledge is not required. Anyone can write a review about a product they purchased without having any special­ist knowledge of the product. How they use it becomes the sole expert­ise needed. It is not rocket science. But talking of science — you don’t have to be a scient­ist to have a view.


Beyond What You Know


Most factu­al writers bring with them exper­i­ence from their past careers. Mine is as both an Information Technology and Business execut­ive. I also went to Law School, intend­ing to become a lawyer. I bring those skills and knowledge to my writing career. What drove me to start writing was an ability to explain technic­al things in plain English.

A writer knows how to use words because they use them all the time. Marilyn Davies is an addic­tion special­ist, which is largely what she wrote about, until one day being asked to write about writing, the rest is history…

Going beyond what you know is about looking at other subjects and lever­aging what you know to push the bound­ar­ies.


Other Work of Interest




  1. Hi, Peter; thanks for reblog­ging this — missed this earli­er this month. Don’t want you to think I’m ungrate­ful for your support.

    • Marilyn, It is simply not possible to see everything the second it is published. I am glad to re-blog. I have deiceded re-blogging is a good way to keep my site going, even when I am unable to write a new post.

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