Write What You Know, You Know…

They say, Write what you know…

And in response I say, Okay…

So when I began in earnest to write stuff for people to read way back in the early Nineties – what a great decade that was – about all I knew about life outside of my personal life which I didn’t and still don’t have the guts yet to truly explore, was all pretty much navy-related.

Hence, the stories I wrote at the time were all pretty much, well… navy-related.

And therein lies the primary challenge I have when it comes to convincing and conniving folks who look a lot like you to read my writing… and now, to support a film based upon my writing: that even though the stories may be navy-related, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are stories just about the navy.

Some of you, many of you, are probably new to this site so understandably there may be a few things about me that you just aren’t aware of:

Like, even though my undergraduate degree is in English – which probably explains my nerd obsession with arranging and amalgamating morphemes into new and creative and interesting ways for you to read stuff, my graduate degree is in a completely unrelated field (well, maybe it’s a little related) of Human Relations – which probably explains my obsession with trying to understand why it is you think and behave the crazy and unpredictable way you do.

To satisfy my morpheme amalgamating obsession, I began to write; to satisfy my relating-to-humans obsession, I took a few years off from my primary career field in the Intelligence Community (oxymoron, I know…) while in the navy, to become a certified Equal Opportunity Advisor, where I spent much of my time providing counseling and training in diversity management.

And it is this relating to humans-related stuff that I would like to think is what my stories, while even though they may be set in a navy-related world, are all really about…

Like, as explored in my novel The Sea Trials of an Unfortunate Sailor, how do our perceptions and stereotypes influence our decisions when confronted with situations like homophobia and harassment and abuse?


Or, as explored in the short story and soon to be short film LEAVE, what was the environment really like for that courageous female sailor who took that first assignment to a warship with an all-male crew?


While these stories are set on navy ships during the Nineties, it is my belief their underlying themes and messages are relevant even, and especially, today.

Just recently Congress has authorized women to serve in all combat-related duties, not just some of them like back in the Nineties.

Right now there are courageous, pioneering females all throughout the US military – and throughout society in general – who are opening doors that have previously always been closed to them, and setting off on a course that clears the way for many more courageous females to forever follow.

So, yeah, we writers have always been told to Write what you know…

Just as you readers have always been told to Never judge a book by its cover…

Especially mine.

Open Books Open Minds…



18 thoughts on “Write What You Know, You Know…”

  1. It makes me feel a lot better to know that I’m not the only one at the cross roads of decision making. I remember my professor telling me “Write what I know.” I didn’t want to. I wanted to be different but eventually, I found a unique way to spin the predictable into nicely woven piece of literature, which I hope to release.

    Thanks for this post and good luck with the film.

  2. I very much enjoyed Leave — left a comment on Amazon too, which I’ve only did once before. (I need to do it more, I know.)
    I see how your HR connection influenced your writing, and no doubt played a role in how much I liked it.

  3. I was at a writers conference this week and the teacher said – you can write about what you don’t know- just research it. I found that interesting since it was different from what I have heard to write about what you know.

    • Oh yeah, sure, RP. We are free to write that which compels us to write. While I believe it is sound advice for new writers, I was using the old saw of a saying of “write what you know” mostly as a device to make the point about “not judging a book by its cover” as I try to convince folks to see beyond my writing as being just navy stories. So we should write what we know, what we don’t know, but mostly we should write what’s interesting. 🙂


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