Okay...several things come to mind when I hear this phrase. It's a saying I've heard repeatedly within the publishing industry. I read a blog recently that really struck home in relation to what I think about when I hear it. I live in a small, rural community and I have young children...I also have a husband working in a war zone so our family can have a better future. My hero. Does that mean I should write a story about our life and top it off with a happily-ever-after. I could. Very easily. But we all know...excuse me...shit happens.
Six years ago...two months before I married a man I absolutely adored and wanted to spend the rest of my life with...he was told he had cancer. The DR. said that because his "belly" was tender that it had probably spread throughout his body. We were frantic. He had just switched jobs and didn't have insurance...he was a big, strapping country-fed cowboy ~ what did he need insurance for? I'm sure I could weave several stories out of what happened next. Short story...it wasn't cancer and we had quite a few outrageous medical bills, all because the DR. was retiring and needed a nice little nest egg.
But would it sell? It happens to a lot of people. Life tends to do that. What about if I wanted to write about a bull-rider? I could. I can write about anything I want to. Nana nana boo-boo. Whatever.
It's called research. So why should I write what I know...maybe emotional aspect? How do these great authors write about subjects they've only researched and put an emotional spin into the story and still sound believable? Cause they're good. So when they say write what you know...what does it mean to you?