Write what you know.
That’s the adage every writer hears at one point or another. Write what you know.
But that’s only the start of writing. “Write what you know” should be the beginning of something, not the end all, be all of what you’re doing. Writing what you know can be very narrow, indeed, and that narrowness can stifle your voice.
Taking the adage as the starting point, the next step is research. We all have to do a bit of it, and just because you’re making a story from whole cloth doesn’t mean you’re free from doing research. Research is all the more important for that reason alone.
When you research, it’s just as important to research the points that contradict your view as it is the points that support it. Think of them as antagonist and protagonist. The information can come out either in a situation or through characterization, but having both points of view can make the world you’re creating more well-rounded and rich.
Yes, doing the research can be boring. If it is, you have no one to blame but yourself. The reason for that is simple: you picked the subject matter.
Now, in doing the research, the first place many people go is to Wikipedia. I get it. I understand it. It’s easy, and a lot of the material is well referenced. If you want to do your due diligence, you’ll read the article on Wikipedia, and then you’ll go hunt down the references used. Often, you’ll get a much clearer picture of what it is you’re researching.
The other thing about research is that it can take a while to do. This is the internet age, and there are all kinds of tools to help bookmark, store, assemble, and take notes. Just be careful of falling down the rabbit hole and following paths that have nothing to do with your story. It can happen.
Write what you know. Really, what you know is only the beginning.