Writing what you know

5 Conclusion: you know many things

‘Writing what you know’ is a large and rich project, one that provides an endless resource, and one that can be undertaken in all the types of writing discussed in this unit – poetry, fiction and life writing. The skill lies in reawakening your senses to the world around you, and then using what you find with discrimination. By realising the potentials of your own life experience, you will be collecting the materials necessary in order to write. ‘Writing what you know’ can amount to a lot more than you may have first bargained for. It doesn't mean that you are limited solely to your own life story. Neither does it mean you have to be entirely true to your memories. Often a different kind of truth will emerge from the activity of writing about elements of your past and your everyday life. In this way, writing about what you know is a route to a different understanding of your own experience, and therefore also a route to finding out what you don't know.

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