Do you limit your writing?

There's been a change in my life recently, in a good way. In fact, it's been rather wonderful. The effect of this change has been to remove limitations that prevented me from doing and having certain things. There is very little holding me back and yet my brain still thinks there is. My gut reaction is that I still can't do those things when, actually, I can.

It can be the same with my writing. For instance, they say to 'write what you know' and hence there are whole arenas of life and experience that I wouldn't dare touch on in my stories for fear of appearing naive or ill-informed. For instance, I worked in an office environment for decades, finally attaining a minor management role, and yet I don't feel comfortable writing about the upper echelons of the corporate world. I haven't ever held that kind of position so what would I know about it? There are other areas I would be reluctant to write about too - investment banking, brain surgery, politics. I wouldn't want to sound foolish.

Perhaps, though, I'm limiting myself  with these attitudes. When I was asked to write a murder mystery play set during the Jubilee celebrations in 1953, I only knew snippets of information so I researched the era. I did similar research when I wrote my 1920s murder mystery, Thoroughly Murdered Millie. Why can't I apply this approach to my novel writing?

After the assessment of my novel by the Writers Workshop, I'm making a number of changes to it and one of these is to experience more of the workings of the upper layers of the corporate world which has me a little nervous but I can see that it will add to the quality of my story. Another change involves broadening my thinking to create the entire world that my story takes place in, not just the parts that are revealed in the plot line.

I've shied away from writing short stories in recent years too because I felt I'd forgotten how to write them effectively. This year, I want to drop that limiting thought and write a whole host of short stories. Who knows? I may even send them off to a couple of competitions, if I'm happy with them.

In so many ways, 2015 is the year when I can step beyond the limitations of the past, if I have the courage. Wish me luck.


  1. Good luck, Fi! I think this is a great goal and one you'll definitely achieve.

  2. Sounds a great idea.
    The internet is a fantastic research tool but imagination is essential.
    I never understood the 'write what you know' adage. Imagine how boring the majority of books would be lol.
    So, good luck.
    Go, Fi!

  3. What a great attitude, Fi, and a good game plan for 2015!
    My Malone mysteries always take place somewhere I've either lived or visited but I still do a lot of research to make sure I've got it right.

  4. That really is a great idea. I remember my college professor stressed to write what we know. But he added unto that, probably even stressed it even more, to write what we don't know. Yes use your experience but also let your imagination run loose.

    1. Sounds like an excellent teacher.


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