Experts of Nothing and Everything

Writers hand with pen
Writers hand with pen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve noticed a trend as of late of the posts that I’ve read on other blogs by writers.  I do it myself.  We write in this particular phrase in some fashion or another: “I’m not an expert.”  Which is true, we’re not experts.  Writers I mean.  I suppose you could call us an expert at being long-winded, or with the written word, but I don’t think that qualifies.

When it comes to writing, or so I’ve noticed, writers don’t focus on one particular topic unless they start writing just that and only that.  An individual who only write crime novels has more knowledge about crime and police procedure than say someone who writes fantasy.  Also, this excludes non-fiction writers simply because if they weren’t an expert, they wouldn’t have published a book on that particular topic.

But I digress.

Fiction writers tend to be experts of nothing or a little bit of everything depending on how you think about it.  Let me give you a few examples:

I recently wrote a story about a truck driver.  What do I know about driving trucks?  Nothing, but I have a family friend who does and he likes sharing stories of things that happens on the road and the various tricks he’s learned to get through the long haul.

Memory Lane, a story about a Government Assassin.  What do I know about being a government assassin?  Nothing, but I do know quite a few guys who are Special Forces trained and while they never talked about their missions or anything like that, they were more than happy to talk about what it means to be them.

Life Without Parole, a story about Immortals.  What do I know about being immortal?  Nothing, but I do …um, hmm…

… huh … Anyway, you get the point.

Writers, having the wild imaginations that we do, tend to have a wide range of interests that lead us from assassination, prison systems, truck driving, monsters taking over the world, and then just for good measure, a group of people trying to save and restore the planet.

Why?  Because we can’t help it.  When the inspiration hits, we go in search of the people to talk to, the books to read about it, the websites to waste ti… uh … read in the hope of finding a way through the inspiration into an actual novel that’s good.

Of course, with that said, I should point out that writers like to stay close to home, or their comfort zones.  Take me for example, I’m military.  I was born military, joined the military, married the military.  I probably bleed camouflage.  Because of this truth a good portion of my writing has some type of military reference, character who was prior military or currently military, or something along those lines.  The jargon probably slips in too.  It’s comfortable, it’s what I know.

Am I an expert on the military?  No, but I know a hell of a lot about what it means to be military.  I know it’s a different culture than the civilian world, with different expectations and understandings.  Something I’m learning a hell of a lot about now that I’m working for a civilian employer.

Which is why writers are experts of nothing and everything.


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