"Write what you know" is common advice to writers, and for the most part, that's what I do---mostly out of sheer laziness. But there is a downside to it, at least in the romance genre where I play. I've learned that romance readers tend to have a zero tolerance policy toward anything in the story that isn't romance. When I give my characters jobs that I've worked or a faith that I practice, I have to be careful about over-informing the reader.
Significant paring back happens during my second and third drafts and then again during the editing process. And still I get complaints here and there about the bits I left in regarding investment analysis---in a story where two characters get to know each other through a business project---or Catholicism---in a story about a freaking angel.
So here's my brilliant solution for my current WIP---the main character is a lawyer. I know nothing about lawyering. I have no interest in ever knowing anything about lawyering. Therefore, I research only the bare minimum and run no risk of over-informing the reader on legal matters. This makes it easier to keep the focus on the MC and his romantic "journey" (as the producers of The Bachelor would have us all say).
I still think "write what you know" is good advice, but there's a definite upside to writing what you don't. Have you ever written what you don't know and purposely not done a ton of research?
This post is part of the monthly blog hop/therapy session known as Insecure Writers Support Group, founded by the one and clonely Alex J. Cavanaugh.