Go Where Your Writing Takes You!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Recently, I finished a book that took me places I never thought I'd go. It made me think about writing advice I was given early on in my writing career, advice that I've since thrown out the window. It went like this:


At first glance, this advice would seem appropriate, true and good. Writing about a subject in which you have knowledge and experience only adds to the credibility of your words. In fact, your credentials may be the very thing that gets your work picked up by a publisher. 

 But, if you adopt this advice as your mantra, eventually your writing will stagnate as it revolves around your limited knowledge level. 

Years ago, I was approached by two different Army Reserve nurses who wanted their Persian Gulf War experiences told. At first I hesitated. My publications at the time were open-ended stories used in classrooms, not biographies. In addition, I had no experience with the military or war or the political elements that lead up to war or for that matter anything to do with nursing. My  knowledge level of all these things was zip, nada, nothing. 

Something deep within told me to do it! Actually, one of the nurses told me that God had sent her to me and I had to do it! How could I turn down that kind of request? 

I jumped in full-force and boy did I learn. It was exhilarating! 

I learned so much I feel as if I served side-by-side with these women fighting vipers and sand storms and Scud missile attacks, administering to Iraqi POW's who didn't want help and battling their own personal demons in an isolated war zone.  

Awhile ago, one of my critique partners was approached to write a book about fly fishing, of all things. As a children's writer, she knew nothing about fly fishing.

 Like me, she hesitated but eventually agreed to do it and now she has more knowledge about fly fishing than most fishermen. Following the publication of her book, Fly Fishermen of Caldwell County, she was asked to write an article for Trout magazine!

These marvelous experiences would have been missed if she subscribed to

                   WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW! 

Although my latest book, We Bought A WWII Bomber, was written about an event that took place in my high school in 1943, many years before I attended, I began the project knowing nothing about WWII, patriotism on the home front, the war's effect on schools, families, and homes, and funding campaigns to pay for the war. I knew nothing about the B-17 Flying Fortress Bomber, WWII
navigational systems, the Norden Bomb sight, Commander training on the B-17, aviation terms and crew responsibilities. I'd never been to Mabry's Mill, the most photographed spot on the Blue Ridge Parkway, Meadows of Dan, Virginia nor knew anyone who had.

All of these wonderful experiences and opportunities to learn new things and meet wonderful, exciting, interesting people would have been missed if I had listened, all those years ago, to the advice


Whether writing fiction or non-fiction, you need to mentally free yourself of the chains of your limited knowledge base and be open to learning new things as the facts or your characters take you places you never thought you'd go. 

Where has your writing taken you? What marvelous experiences came your way because you allowed yourself to 

                       WRITE WHAT YOU DIDN'T KNOW?

Congratulations to Joan Y. Edwards! She was one of six folks who entered my last contest to WIN a copy of We Bought A WWII Bomber: The Untold Story of a Michigan High School, a B-17 Bomber and The Blue Ridge Parkway!  Joan, please contact me by email and I'll send you your book! 


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About Me

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Hi! I’m Sandra Warren, a writer with very eclectic writing tastes. I’ve been fortunate to have publications in multiple genres including children’s, gifted education, parenting, how to, poetry, journal, educational activity guides and biography as well as audio and video production. I'm a city gal recently transplanted to the mountains of NC where glorious mountain vistas inspire latest renderings.

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