Axiom

The Writer’s axiom, “write what you know,” led me to the question: What are the Blogger Axioms? If the rule was, “blog what you know,” then I think there would be far fewer blogs posts. One axiom I did read was, “don’t blog anything that would embarrass a potential employer.” This axiom has no flair. I recognize that an axiom is supposed to be self-evident, but it does not have to be bland.

There is something provocative about writing what one knows about. It implies that the writer has some sort of special knowledge, or a gift, that they are imparting to the world. Ignore the potential for pretension in this. Instead, think of some kind of writing–fiction, nonfiction, poetry, whatever–that made you sit up and say, “Holy shit. This is good.” Writing that set your brain on fire. You don’t have to actually share the list you come up with (although I’d appreciate it if you did in the comments), just recognize what makes those particular stories so fantastic.

Even a good research paper, or journal article, can have that effect. These scholarly works aim to inform the world with some new bit (or twist) of information, including HOW they came across this new knowledge. In essence, this is just the story of how the knowledge was discovered. The best of the papers, in my opinion, share this information and bring you into that research.Granted, it has been a long time since I read a journal article, but I do seem to remember being blown away by Field Theory and Cognitive Dissonance papers.

When one writes what they know about, they can impart some of their own experiences. They can create, or recreate, their story in a method that makes the reader a participant, not an observer.

Good blogs should be able to do this as well.

So what do I know? Not much. I know a lot about juveniles and delinquency. I know a little about music. I know more about scifi/fantasy than I care to admit, and I pretend to know more about Irish history than I really do. I don’t know nearly enough about Chicago to write novels about–but I do know enough to post about my city.

There is another interesting facet about this idea: The more one writes, the more one learns. Part of this has to do with reading and researching a topic; however, when writing a story, or a scene, characters begin to develop their own sense of self. What a writer starts with begins to morph into something else. The same holds true for blogs. Blogs change over time, especially if the writer blogs about what they know about.

There are books that I need to read–books on writing, specifically–that I think supplement my point. However, I’d rather hear from readers about their experiences with reading and writing.