Write About What You Know
- Your Passions/Interests
by Robyn Opie Parnell
a writer, I'm sure you've heard the advice to
write about what you know. Makes sense, doesn't
it? I mean, how do you write about things you
I've been fascinated by various subjects for many
years. In the last twelve months, my favorite
interests came together to form my latest
manuscript a 42,000 word novel for young
people aged 10 to 14. I don't claim to know
everything about these subjects but I'm reading,
experiencing and learning.
Therefore, I'd like to add my own modification to
the above advice.
Write about your passions!
When I wrote my latest manuscript, I didn't draw
on great personal experience or firsthand
knowledge. I had to spend several months reading
and researching the gaps in my knowledge
and there were plenty before I started
writing. I wanted to learn as much as possible,
so I could write about what I know and, well,
because I was fascinated by these subjects. The
more I learned, the more passionate I became, and
I'm still devouring these subjects through books,
television and the internet.
Passion inspired me.
I found things I didn't know and turned them into
things I know, because I became passionate about
them. What I lack in personal experience and
firsthand knowledge, I make up for with passion
to learn and explore.
You can write about what you know but if you're
not passionate about it, who cares?
Once upon a time, I knew nothing about these
subjects. I couldn't have written about them.
Okay, lets go back about eight years. This
is the first time I saw a psychic/medium on TV.
He was amazing. His accuracy astounded me. From
that moment on, I watched every TV show I could
that featured psychic mediums.
Next, like many people, I became interested in
the law of attraction. For the last twenty years,
Ive been a big fan of the power of positive
thinking, so it was natural for me to investigate
the theories of the law of attraction.
For the last two years, Ive known I wanted
to write a novel that involved the paranormal
because of my interest in this subject. But I
didnt know what to write. I had a few ideas
but nothing that really grabbed me.
Instead, while I waited for the idea that would
inspire me, I wrote a non-fiction manuscript on
the law of attraction. Im hoping this work
will be published soon. Fingers crossed!
Still, I didnt have the right idea for the
When I was a child, I loved reading the Nancy
Drew, Hardy Boys and Famous Five series, as well
as other mysteries. I remember reading a Hardy
Boy's novel called "The Mystery of the Aztec
Warrior". This novel got me interested in
the Aztecs and, through further reading, I became
interested in the Inca and the Maya. At the time,
I was particularly intrigued by the ancient Maya
of what is known as the Classic Period (250 AD to
900 AD). For some reason, I felt a connection to
Time went on and my life changed. I grew up, left
school, got a job and got married. I forgot about
Or did I?
Late last year, my partner and I sat down to
watch a documentary. After the documentary, my
interest in the Maya of the Classic Period was
reignited. I started reading about the Maya and
once again became passionate about this ancient
An idea began to smolder in my mind. The Maya,
the spiritual side of the Maya, their
relationship with life and death, their beliefs
about deceased ancestors, their system of
calendars, the end date for this period 21st
So, I found myself plotting my novel. Then I was
writing my novel.
My final plot involved my main interests, my
passions: the paranormal, Quantum Physics and the
Maya. I've immersed myself in these subjects,
learning everything I can about them. Hence, my
advice to write about your passions. I know about
the Maya, for instance, because of my passion for
these people and their history. Without the
passion, I'd have no knowledge. Therefore, I
write about what I know my passions.
So when people say to "write about what you
know", you don't have to be limited to your
own personal experiences. You can write about
what you know in regards to interests, passions,
even if you don't know these things from
firsthand personal experience.
To me, passion is the extra ingredient. Passion
can help you turn what you don't know into what
you know and then into a manuscript.
Once upon a time, my three passions were what I
didnt know. They became what I know,
though, I readily admit I still have a lot to
learn. But, as these subjects are my
interests/passions, I'm happy to continue
learning and as much as possible.