The Misconception of “Write What You Know”: Exploring Beyond Your Personal Narratives – Cody Smart

We explore the misconception of “Write What You Know” in this blog post, as we delve into the idea of expanding our horizons beyond our personal narratives. Join us as we challenge the notion that our writing should only be limited to what we have experienced firsthand. Together, we will embark on a journey of discovery and embrace the infinite possibilities of storytelling.

The Misconception of “Write What You Know”: Exploring Beyond Your Personal Narratives – Cody Smart


Writing is a deeply personal and creative process that allows us to explore the depths of our imagination. In the world of storytelling, there is a phrase that often gets thrown around: “Write what you know.” This piece of advice has been ingrained into the minds of aspiring writers for years, but is it really the key to creating compelling and unique stories? In this article, we will delve into the misconception of “write what you know” and explore why it’s essential to go beyond our personal narratives when it comes to crafting engaging narratives.

The Limitations of Personal Experience

As human beings, we are naturally drawn to stories that resonate with our own lives. It’s no wonder then that many writers feel compelled to draw from their own personal experiences when creating narratives. After all, who knows our own lives better than we do? Cody Smart, an independent writer and script doctor from Chile, understands the allure of this approach but acknowledges its limitations.

Cody holds degrees in English Literature & Linguistics, Screenwriting, Development, and Producing, and has worked extensively in the film industry as a script analyst for Sony. She has also written award-winning shorts and is the head of the coverage department at a script hosting site. Cody’s expertise and experience have given her valuable insights into the art of storytelling.

Going Beyond Personal Narratives

While drawing from personal experiences can be a starting point, Cody Smart believes that it’s crucial for writers to explore beyond their own lives. She emphasizes the importance of researching and immersing oneself in different cultures, time periods, and perspectives. By stepping outside our comfort zones and embracing the unfamiliar, we can push the boundaries of our storytelling abilities.

Cody does a bi-monthly vlog on Story Data, where she shares valuable tips and advice with fellow screenwriters. In one of her videos, she emphasizes that writing what you know can confine your creativity and limit your storytelling potential. By exploring new terrains and stepping into unfamiliar shoes, writers can transcend their own experiences and create captivating narratives that resonate with a wider audience.

The Importance of Research

Research is a vital aspect of the writing process, especially when it comes to exploring topics beyond our personal narratives. Cody Smart believes that thorough research is the key to authenticity and believability in storytelling. Whether it’s delving into historical events, learning about different cultures, or understanding the nuances of a specific industry, research adds depth and richness to our narratives.

To illustrate this point, Cody shares her experience as a judge for multiple script and film competitions. She has witnessed firsthand the impact that well-researched stories can have on an audience. When writers take the time to understand and accurately portray diverse experiences, they create narratives that not only entertain but also educate and enlighten.

Breaking Free from Stereotypes

Another reason to explore beyond personal narratives is to challenge stereotypes and broaden our perspectives. When we limit ourselves to writing only what we know, we run the risk of perpetuating clichés and reinforcing narrow-minded narratives. Cody Smart believes that as writers, we have a responsibility to question and push the boundaries of conventional thinking. By venturing into uncharted territory, we can open ourselves up to a world of diverse characters and unique stories.


In conclusion, the notion of “write what you know” can be a starting point for aspiring writers, but it should not be seen as a limiting rule. Cody Smart, with her extensive experience in the film industry and passion for storytelling, encourages writers to explore beyond their personal narratives. By conducting thorough research, challenging stereotypes, and immersing ourselves in unfamiliar worlds, we can create stories that captivate and resonate with a wide audience.

So, dare to break free from the shackles of familiarity and embrace the limitless possibilities that lie beyond your personal experiences. Open your mind to new perspectives, cultures, and ideas. As Cody Smart would say, “The world of storytelling is vast, and it’s up to us to explore it.”


  1. Q: Who is Cody Smart?
    A: Cody Smart is an independent writer and script doctor from Chile.

  2. Q: What degrees does Cody Smart hold?
    A: Cody holds degrees in English Literature & Linguistics, Screenwriting, Development, and Producing.

  3. Q: What is Cody Smart’s experience in the film industry?
    A: Cody has worked as a script analyst for Sony and is also a judge for multiple script and film competitions.

  4. Q: What kind of content does Cody Smart create on writing and entertainment?
    A: Cody has created content on topics like writing, entertainment, and movies, and shares tips for screenwriters on her bi-monthly vlog for Story Data.

  5. Q: How can we connect with Cody Smart?
    A: Cody Smart can be connected with on various platforms such as UCLA Extension, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.

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