->''"You write what you know because--like there's another choice? The trick is to try and know as much as possible."''
-->-- '''Creator/LoisMcMasterBujold'''

Many shows, books, movies and other media that depict a real world activity (police procedures, military procedures, wilderness survival--hell, even hobbies like [[PacmanFever playing video games]])--often get it totally wrong, with plenty of glaring flaws that anyone who has engaged in that activity could quickly point out. If you're not careful, you might even get DanBrowned.

Some people avoid this problem by Doing The Research, and some even go so far as to [[ShownTheirWork Show Their Work]], going out of their way to show off facts that they learned while researching the activity.

But some people don't need to Do The Research, because they already know. It's their life. The story they tell is their former profession. The world they build in the work of fiction is the world they actually grew up in.

This is because some writers write what they know. And if they know their subject well, this puts them in a unique position that gives them an advantage over people who would have to go out of their way to research the subject instead. A police officer who writes novels on the side can depict police procedure and what goes on in the department realistically. Someone who has to research it second-hand might be able to as well, but will still be missing the life experiences that the actual officer would have. Same with any other profession.

A writer who has primarily worked as a professional writer can also do this, but it results in MostWritersAreWriters. (Ever wonder why so many characters in fiction are authors, screenwriters, or journalists? That's why.)

See also WriteWhoYouKnow, for when writers grab from their circle of family and acquaintances to create their characters.

Note: This is '''NOT''' just about people who write about their current interest or hobby, but instead is about whether or not the interest or hobby is depicted very realistically because the author does it for a living or grows up around it, etc. If it is, then it's Write What You Know. If it isn't depicted realistically, then they're no different from any other author. For when the author writes about something because it speaks to them, regardless of how much they know about it, see AuthorAppeal.

As this trope is often also used (and misused) as a piece of writing advice, it should perhaps be noted that TropesAreTools, and that Writing What You Know is not an ironclad rule which automatically guarantees that you will produce superior work over someone lacking that experience. Having first-hand experience of what you're writing about may give you an advantage over someone who does not have the same experience when it comes to research and life experience, but that doesn't automatically mean that you will also possess superior writing skills. Nor does it mean that someone who must rely on second-hand research instead of life experience ''cannot'' effectively write a story set in a world that they are unfamiliar with. Finally, it doesn't mean that someone cannot convincingly write, say, a Science Fiction or Fantasy story set in other worlds involving creatures and experiences that are a bit thin on the ground. The idea is that a writer can draw on his or her own personal experiences to inform their story and give it life and verisimilitude, not that the writer can only write about things that they have direct personal first-hand experience of.

This said, as the page quote suggests, if you ''don't'' know about something you intend to write about it's usually a good idea to find out more about it somehow, if only to make sure you avoid any [[CriticalResearchFailure glaring errors]].

Compare IShouldWriteABookAboutThis, when a character in-story realizes that their experiences might make a good book. AuthorAvatar is when a writer goes the whole way and writes about a thinly fictionalized version of themselves.

!!Real Life examples:


[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* Creator/OsamuTezuka bore a degree in medicine, which becomes evident from time to time, mostly in his SciFi stuff, but most notably in ''Manga/BlackJack'' (when he's not disregarding it in favor of RuleOfCool that is).
* ''Manga/ServantXService'' is a WorkCom surrounding a ward office. Its author Karino Takatsu worked in one before becoming a manga artist.
* The creepy apartment in ''Manga/{{Domu}}: A Child's Dream'' is based on the one Creator/KatsuhiroOtomo once lived in.
* Creator/NaokoTakeuchi used her experience in working as a {{miko}} in a shrine as the basis for the character of ''Franchise/SailorMoon'''s Rei Hino, a MagicalGirl who works as a miko and incorporates Shinto elements into her attacks.
* Creator/HayaoMiyazaki grew in his family's aircraft factory (it was owned by his uncle and his father was its manager), so naturally a lot of his works feature either flying, lovingly depicted sophisticated tech or both.
* Ruri Miyahara used to work as freelance writer before she became a manga artist, and she used her experience as the basis for the main character of ''Manga/{{Misolala}}'', Misono Mugita, who works as a writer in a design company.
* Creator/MasumiAsano is a voice actress who wrote ''Manga/SoreGaSeiyuu'', as story about three young girls in the voice acting industry.
* Creator/HiromuArakawa grew up on a dairy farm in Hokkaido. Guess where her agriculture-based manga ''Manga/SilverSpoon'' is set?
* ''Manga/NewGame'' is about working in the video game industry. The author, Shotaro Tokuno, is a former game developer.
* Mangakas Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata made Manga/Bakuman, about a pair of mangakas, one the artist and the other the scenarist. The two characters' strength rests in psychological pieces rather than classical shonen... pieces like Manga/Death Note for example?
* Creator/MakotoShinkai has said in interviews that he's best at creating based on what he has a personal connection to.
* [[Creator/PAWorks Progressive Animation Works]] is, naturally, an animation studio, and one of their greatest hits is a ''[[Anime/{{Shirobako}} series about an animation studio]]''.
** They are also inordinately fond of setting their shows around [[UsefulNotes/TheFortySevenPrefectures Toyama prefecture]] [[CreatorProvincialism where they are based]].

* ''ComicStrip/FoxTrot'''s Bill Amend majored in physics and won a mathematics prize in college. Needless to say, some of the jokes involve advanced mathematics and physics formulae. One of the more recurring high school teachers is for Physics. He is also a Mac user. The [=iFruit=] is a... something, of an [=iMac=] crossed with some MagicalComputer elements. Earlier computers in the strip had, for what little we saw, a very Mac OS/Macintosh System Software like operating system.
* Peter Puck, author of the German comic ''ComicStrip/{{Rudi}}'', wrote an academic text about punks and got a degree for it. Punks often appear in his comics.
* Scott Adams has often said that the cubicle experience and corporate behavior in ''ComicStrip/{{Dilbert}}'' comes straight from his experiences working at [=PacBell=].
* One plotline in ''ComicBook/SwampThing'' involves Liz Tremayne, formerly an IntrepidReporter and novelist who befriended Swamp Thing and the gang while doing some investigative reporting on the enigmatic creature, becoming a paranoid, dependent, and cloistered shell of her former self as a result of her boyfriend Dennis Barclay using the specter of them supposedly being constantly chased by one of their enemies (who had actually been killed by Swamp Thing in the issue immediately following their initial flight) to gradually make her utterly reliant on him. Creator/AlanMoore based this arc on one of his own cousins who went through a similar experience with her husband, and many of the specific details of Liz's plight (wearing sewn-up towels instead of proper new underwear, never immersing herself in a bath for fear of drowning, never plugging in the TV for fear of electrocution) are almost exactly the same as those of the cousin.
* Tom King used to be a counter-terrorism officer in the CIA, and a lot of his works feature terrorists or espionage. He was brought on to ''ComicBook/{{Grayson}}'' partly so he could add authenticity to the spy antics, and his ''ComicBook/OmegaMen'' run re-imagined the team as a group of rebels/terrorists and had political commentary on America's involvement in the War in the Middle-East. ''Sheriff of Babylon'' is about a sheriff in the middle-east and is also hugely based on King's own experiences.

* Some of the gags from ''Film/SuperTroopers'' are based off events that happened to Broken Lizard such as the college student eating pot and Farva dumping gasoline in the garbage can to get a free hot dog.
* Creator/KevinSmith has stated this as the reason for him becoming a filmmaker. Specifically, ''Film/{{Clerks}}'' is actually set and shot in the store that Smith worked in. ''Film/ZackAndMiriMakeAPorno'' borrows heavily from his experience making ''Film/{{Clerks}}''; shooting in your workplace after hours, using a hockey stick as a boom mic pole etc.
* Creator/MartinScorsese has a writing credit on only a handful of his films, but they happen to be the ones that deal most intimately with Italian American and Catholic culture in New York.
* Film director Andrea Arnold grew up in a council estate and as a result, often sets her works (''Wasp'', ''Red Road'', ''Fish Tank'') in council estates.
* Creator/LucBesson was a former diver whose first wide release film was ''Film/TheBigBlue'', which is about divers.
* The reason for most of the social commentary in ''Film/{{District 9}}''. Director Neil Blomkamp wanted to place aliens in a realistic third-world environment. As it happens, Blomkamp is South African, so he knows the particular kind of CrapsackWorld that UsefulNotes/SouthAfrica can be. Yes-most of the stuff in the movie, such as the slum, the cannibalism, the deportation, that's all inspired by actual events.
* Creator/AkiraKurosawa was a descendant of a samurai family on his mother's side, and he was raised on stories of them, including ones that weren't very flattering. This would lead to his creation of ''Film/SevenSamurai''
* Creator/ErichVonStroheim wrote, directed, and starred in ''Film/FoolishWives'', about a trio of con artists pretending to be [[UsefulNotes/TsaristRussia White Russian]] aristocrats. Von Stroheim presumably wasn't a criminal, but he was a fake aristocrat, the son of a Viennese haberdasher. When he emigrated to America he added the aristocratic "von" to his name and made himself out to be an Austrian count.

* Melville went on a couple whaling voyages (and wrote books about them - ''Typee'' and ''Omoo'') before writing ''Literature/MobyDick'', which was originally going to be a true account of his adventures, before he decided making it a narrative tragedy would be more interesting.
* Beverly Cleary's job as a children's librarian undoubtedly gave her lots of insight into children's lives and thoughts.
* Creator/MichaelCrichton spent years in medical school and then wrote a bunch of books about doctors and medicine, and also created the TV show ''Series/{{ER}}''.
* Robin Cook (not to be confused with the late British Cabinet minister of the same name) is a doctor who writes medical thrillers. Also, since he attended Columbia University and Harvard, it's not uncommon for his novels to be set in New York City or Boston.
* John Dalmas outfitted his character [[Literature/TheFarsideTrilogy Curtis Macurdy]] with the same skills he had (minus the magical ones.) Dalmas worked in the forestry service for years, and trained with the 82nd airborne right before WWII ended. Curtis actually jumped during the war, and when he wasn't fighting, he was logging or using his combat experience and easygoing personality to be a sheriff in Oregon.
* Creator/JohnGrisham, a lawyer, writes almost nothing but courtroom dramas (there are a few exceptions).
** ''A Painted House'' is an exception, but it fits here as well. The narrator is a young boy growing up on a cotton farm in the American South. Grisham is very familiar with this kind of life because his father was a cotton farmer in Mississippi.
* The authors Andy [=McNab=] and Chris Ryan are both former members of the SAS, who served together on the same disastrous mission behind Iraqi lines during Operation Desert Storm that formed the basis for the memoirs that launched their careers. Both books also turned out to be [[UnreliableNarrator self-serving]], [[BasedOnAGreatBigLie heavily fictionalised]] and [[SitcomArchNemesis very unflattering about the other]]. [=McNab's=] protagonist in particular is an undisguised AuthorAvatar.
** In a similar vein but much less famous, or controversial, RAF Tornado pilot John Nichol co-wrote two non-fiction books about his Gulf War experiences with navigator/WSO John Peters (namely getting shot down, captured, paraded on TV and tortured in a certain prison by the name of Abu Ghraib) before embarking upon a solo career as a writer of thrillers whose protagonist is invariably a male RAF pilot... who [[WishFulfillment always has it off with a beautiful woman before the end of the story,]] but he's good enough that nobody really minds.
* Forensic anthropologist Kathy Reichs writes the original novels, ''Bones'' (later used to create Series/{{Bones}}). One guess what Temperance "Bones" Brennan does for a living.
* ''Literature/NothingsFairInFifthGrade'' was written by Barthe Declements while she was an elementary school teacher, and a school psychologist. The result is one of the most realistic depictions of fifth grade (and under) kids both in AND out of school.
* Elinor M. Brent-Dyer, the creator of the ''Literature/ChaletSchool'' series, was a teacher herself. She actually tried to start up her own school (in Hereford, which became one of the Chalet School's locations), although unlike its fictional equivalent, the school was unsuccessful in the end. Like Joey, the series's heroine, she also converted to Catholicism.
* Creator/CharlesDickens knew a lot about debtors' prisons -- his father had been in one. His experience working as a child while his family struggled to lift themselves out of debt inspired a number of characters and plots detailing the horrific plight of children in poverty.
* It shouldn't come a surprise that Creator/JRRTolkien was [[ConLang an expert in linguistics]].
** The battles in his stories were based on his experiences in UsefulNotes/WorldWarOne.
* Creator/ElizabethMoon was in the Marine Corps in the late 60s, thus her books are chock full of fairly realistic MilitaryAndWarfareTropes.
* T. H. White, author of ''Literature/TheOnceAndFutureKing'', had personal experience in falconry.
* Creator/IanFleming and David John Moore Cornwall (writing as Creator/JohnLeCarre) both had backgrounds in intelligence; Fleming also worked in stockbroking and journalism.
** Fleming also ate and smoked a lot of what 007 does, which contributed to his early death.
* Australian author Creator/MelinaMarchetta is an English teacher, and sets most of her books in High School.
* Irini Saviddes teaches English and Drama and her characters spend a great deal of time in drama class.
* A good number of Creator/StephenKing's novels and short stories take place in Maine, feature main characters that are writers, or writers that live in Maine. Some of his works are also set in an industrial laundry ("The Mangler" and the novel ''Roadwork''), a fabric mill ("Graveyard Shift"), or feature teachers as main characters (''Literature/ElevenTwentyTwoSixtyThree'', ''Literature/SalemsLot''); all are jobs that King held at some point.
** And before him you have Creator/HPLovecraft. His stories were generally set in [[LovecraftCountry New England]] where he lived and often featured secluded intellectuals as the main characters.
** Also, King's novels frequently serve as metaphors for alcoholism and poor parenting, two issues he has struggled with his whole life.
* Creator/JohnRingo used to serve in the military. Most of his main characters either used to serve, or currently serve.
* Creator/ErnestHemingway kept this as his maxim. He explicitly said his body of work was [[TropeNamer "...one book about each thing that I know"]]
** His ''Nick Adams Stories'' were based on his getting drunk ComingOfAge as a youth in Michigan.
** The novel ''Literature/TheSunAlsoRises'' was an account of life experiences while living in Spain after WWI.
** And, of course, there's ''Literature/TheOldManAndTheSea'', which is [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin a story about an old man… and the sea...]].
* When Creator/SpiderRobinson wrote his first story, ''The Guy with the Eyes'', he didn't want to do any research or try to bluff his way through. So he went through all the things that he had sound personal experience of, and decided to use his knowledge of bars and drink. He imagined the bar that he'd most like to drink in, gave it a first person narrator [[AuthorAvatar based on himself]], and set his tale involving an [[spoiler: alien assassin]] there. Thus began the ''Literature/CallahansCrosstimeSaloon'' series.
* F. Scott Fitzgerald based many of his novels on his own life.
* A lot of Literature/{{Discworld}}'s magic seems akin to theoretical physics. Pratchett also wrote extensively on how prolonged exposure to magic can affect a place or person, the general lesson being that the price of magic is usually never as small as it seems. A lot of this made sense when you realize he used to work as a Press Officer to three nuclear power plants, around the time of the Three Mile Island incident.
* Creator/MarkTwain worked as a riverboat pilot on the Mississippi before he became a writer, and the Mississippi river appears as a setpiece in many of his works, most notably ''Literature/TheAdventuresOfTomSawyer, Literature/TheAdventuresOfHuckleberryFinn, The Gilded Age,'' and ''Life on the Mississippi.'' In fact, "mark twain" is leadsman's call frequently heard on the river boats ("by the mark, twain" = exactly two fathoms of water).
* Creator/DavidLangford's novel ''The Leaky Establishment'', a satire on [[ObstructiveBureaucrat obstructive bureaucracy]] at the fictional Nuclear Utilisation Technology Centre, was based on his experiences at the Atomic Weapons Establishment.
* @/MaxSinister, author of the Literature/ChaosTimeline, did CS studies, which greatly helped for the ArtificialIntelligence bit.
* Creator/AlastairReynolds has a [=PhD=] in astronomy and worked as an astrophysicist for the European Space Agency for 13 years. His expertise is very apparent in all of his novels and short stories.
* Andrzej Pilipiuk, Polish fantasy author (known, among other things, for his Literature/JakubWedrowycz stories) graduated in archaeology, and some of his stories that involve archaeology show true expertise on the subject.
* Creator/KatherinePaterson has said her childhood experiences are the reason children in her stories tend to have {{Abusive Parent}}s.
* Creator/RobertAHeinlein grew up in Kansas City, Missouri in the early 1900s. In ''Literature/TimeEnoughForLove'', he sends his archprotagonist Lazarus Long on a TimeTravel journey to [[MyFutureSelfAndMe visit his childhood family]] in... 1917 Kansas City, Missouri. The amount of loving autobiographical historical detail present in these chapters is so thick it practically oozes from the page. Much of his work shows similar details of his life experience, from his long ocean voyages influencing ''Literature/PodkayneOfMars'' and ''Literature/{{Friday}}'' to his military and military consulting experience influencing countless stories.
* Creator/DashiellHammett, author of detective novels such as ''Literature/RedHarvest'', ''Literature/TheThinMan'' and ''Literature/TheMalteseFalcon'', was a member of the Pinkerton Detective Agency.
%%* Literature/{{Modelland}} written by Tyra Banks. Need more be said?
* Literature/SisterhoodSeries by Creator/FernMichaels: The series contains some instances of this. The ghost of Barbara appearing to Myra Rutledge is based off the author's claim that her house has a ghost in it. Fern Michaels is not the author's real name, it was taken from an imaginary friend she had as a child. The book ''Final Justice'' has a character named Marble Rose explain that she took that name from an imaginary friend she had as a child. The author is a Southern woman and she's not afraid to use that knowledge in this series!
* Creator/JoeHaldeman has been a regular rider on Amtrak between Boston and Florida for about forty years; parts of several novels were written while en route on those trains. In ''The Hemingway Hoax'', part of the action takes place on... a train from Boston to Miami.
* Sharon Lee has worked several positions in academia over the years, including administrative aide to a dean. This might help to explain why a number of Literature/LiadenUniverse stories are set at colleges or schools of one kind or another, and why those settings all feel so authentic.
* Isaac Asimov was a respected chemist in addition to being a writer, and knowledgeable about many other fields. Those who pay attention to the scientific aspects of his books will find them to be surprisingly accurate. Unless [[ScienceMarchesOn Science has Marched On]] on some of his subjects, which is always a threat when one tries to write as scientifically accurate as possible.
* Creator/AndrewVachss, child protection consultant and attorney whose defends children and adolescents exclusively, authored the Burke novels in part to vent his frustration at the flaws he saw in a system that allows children to be abused and abandoned while abusers are often unpunished. The theme of child abuse is prominent in most of his novels.
** This includes that one time he wrote a ''Franchise/{{Batman}}'' novel and comic book, subtly titled ''The Ultimate Evil''.
* Creator/OrsonScottCard:
** In the [[Literature/EndersGame Enderverse]] in particular...why are the Wiggins from Greensboro, NC of all places? And why are the Lusitanians Brazilian? And why does so much of the ''Literature/EndersShadow'' trilogy take place around Riberao Preto, Brazil? Card lives in Greensboro, and did his Mormon mission in Brazil.
** And a really glaring one, in ''Literature/ShadowOfTheHegemon'': Peter and his parents take Bean and Carlotta to Leblon, a real life Brazilian restaurant in Greensboro that Card often raves about in his review columns. Apparently he thinks it's so good that it'll survive about a century of the Formic wars and chaos and still exist in essentially the same form!
** Also a weird aside in ''Literature/HiddenEmpire'': While justified by the TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture setting, there's really no reason for Cessy to have a prolonged discussion about the family's editions of the ''TabletopGame/TicketToRide'' boardgame. But Card's a fan.
* Creator/LarryCorreia is an accountant. He used to sell firearms. The protagonist of ''Literature/MonsterHunterInternational'' is an accountant and all of his books describe firearms [[GunPorn the way that Tolkien described trees]].
* Peter Beresford Ellis is a professional historian of Dark Ages Irish history; his ''Literature/SisterFidelma'' series is set in seventh-century Ireland, and many stories focus on particular aspects of period law, religion and society.
* Creator/GeorgeMacDonaldFraser's Literature/McAuslan stories are a ''very'' lightly fictionalized retelling of his post-WWII service in the Gordon Highlanders.
* Robert Jordan, author of ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime'' series up until his death, was once asked at a convention panel, along with several other writers, what influenced how they wrote combat scenes in their books. Because he had served in UsefulNotes/TheVietnamWar, his response was that he knew what it was like to kill someone, and what it was like to kill a lot of people, and how that changed a person and how they viewed not just fighting, but themselves, afterward.
* Creator/LMMontgomery is famous for her vivid descriptions of Prince Edward Island in works like ''Literature/AnneOfGreenGables'' and ''Literature/EmilyOfNewMoon''. Montgomery was born in PEI and spent a great deal of her life there. Also, Anne works as a schoolteacher in ''Anne of Avonlea''; Montgomery was a teacher for several years.
* The Tolkien family are clearly believers in this adage. J.R.R. Tolkien was an expert on languages and northern mythology and so he wrote languages and mythos. His great grandson Simon is a barrister, and he writes crime novels.
* BrianJacques who wrote the Redwall Series, as a youth he became a sailor and traveled the world going on all sorts of adventures, many of the character types, were based on people he knew. The Hares were based on RAF pilots. The moles were based on a pair of old men he asked for directions once, the searats were based on the sailors he knew, many characters such as Constance and Mariel were based on family members, even Gonff is an AuthorAvatar of when he was a kid. The reason the food in the books is so mouthwateringly descriptive is because he grew up during the war, in which food was rationed, he would read novels and be disappointed that when characters have meals, they were never described, he wanted to know what they tasted like, how it looked... etc.
* Creator/DickFrancis, after retiring from being a jockey, started writing thrillers set in the UK horse racing world. Over time the scope of his work widened to include related areas such as horse breeding and horse transportation and eventually completely unrelated areas such as glass blowing and art. The book still must include at least mention of a horse, and sometimes horses start the plot.
* Creator/DorothyLSayers worked for an advertising agency for several years, to the great benefit of ''Murder Must Advertise''.
* The author of ''Literature/AWolfInTheSoul'' lives in the Har Nof neighborhood of Jerusalem, so its geography is very accurately depicted. Even the jackals that can be heard from the forest at night actually exist.
* Creator/TawniODell writes realistically of towns in and around Pennsylvania's coal mining industry.
* Creator/JohnIrving sets many of his scenes at Exeter (a boys' prep school in New England) and Vienna, and many of his characters are enthusiasts in squash and wrestling.
* Stephen Coonts, author of ''Literature/FlightOfTheIntruder'' and the subsequent Jake Grafton series of novels, served in the U.S. Navy as an A-6 Intruder pilot in the Vietnam War.
* Creator/DavidDrake comments in the author's notes of one of the ''Literature/{{RCN}}'' novels that he started writing his first series, ''Literature/HammersSlammers'' (PrivateMilitaryContractors who specialize in {{Hover Tank}}s), as a way of dealing with his Vietnam War experiences (he was an Army interrogator attached to the 11th Armored Cavalry).
* Poet John Gillespie Magee Jr. was a Spitfire pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II. His best-known poem, [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Gillespie_Magee,_Jr.#High_Flight "High Flight"]], is about the exhilaration of flying a Spitfire.
* The title character of the ''Mervyn Stone'' mysteries is the former producer of cult sf series ''Vixens From the Void'', who finds himself solving murders at a convention, a DVD commentary recording, a spin-off audio drama, and the inevitable relaunch. Author Nev Fountaine is a ''Series/DoctorWho'' fan and ''Franchise/DoctorWhoExpandedUniverse'' writer. ''Vixens'' isn't very much like ''Doctor Who'', but the behind-the-scenes stuff is very familiar.
* Creator/CSLewis cast made villains in Literature/TheSpaceTrilogy university professors and faculty, in [[WordOfGod his words]], "not, of course, because I think Fellows of Colleges more likely to be thus corrupted than anyone else, but because my own is the only profession I know well enough to write about."
* Jaroslav Hašek served as a conscript [[UsefulNotes/TheSoundOfMartialMusic Austro-Hungarian soldier]] in UsefulNotes/WorldWarI, and his [[OneBookAuthor sole]] [[AuthorExistenceFailure unfinished]] novel, ''Literature/TheGoodSoldierSvejk'', naturally features the titular Czech soldier during the WWI, complete with an AuthorAvatar in Volunteer Marek.
** Hašek actually wrote much more than ''Švejk'', but as he was primarily a journalist before the war, most of his literary output outside of the novel consists of short stories and newspaper articles — also mainly about the things he knew or did.
* James B. Garfield became blind later in life and had a guide dog named Coral. This experience gave him the idea to write the children's book ''Literature/FollowMyLeader'', about a boy named Jimmy who [[SenseLossSadness loses his sight in an accident]] and learns to navigate the world with the help of a [[CanineCompanion guide dog]] named Leader.
* Creator/FreemanWillsCrofts was a civil engineer working on the railway in Northern Ireland. He made full use of his knowledge when writing ''Death on the Way'', which is set on a railway construction site.
* ''Literature/BoringGirls'' contains a detailed account of the leads' metal band touring, clearly informed by author Sara Taylor's career as lead singer of Music/TheBirthdayMassacre.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* After being an actor and head writer for ''Series/SaturdayNightLive'', a comedy sketch show, Creator/TinaFey created ''Series/ThirtyRock'', an Creator/{{NBC}} WorkCom which centers around an NBC comedy sketch show (''TGS with Tracy Jordan''). Furthermore, besides being creator, head writer, and {{showrunner}} of ''30 Rock'', Fey plays Liz Lemon, who is [[AuthorAvatar creator, head writer, and showrunner]] of ''TGS''. Fey's original plan was to center the show on a NewsBroadcast, until NBC Entertainment president Kevin Reilly suggested she base the show on her own experience.
* Many of the scenarios from the ''Creator/BillEngvall Show'' are based off actual events that he has recounted in his stand up act.
* Television Producer Creator/DavidEKelley, creator of ''Series/AllyMcBeal'', ''Series/ThePractice'', and ''Series/BostonLegal'' (all Boston based lawyer shows) actually has a degree in law from Boston University. Despite that, he engages in severe and frequent use of HollywoodLaw (mostly [[RuleOfDrama for the sake of drama]], it seems).
* As ludicrous as the events in most ''Series/OnlyFoolsAndHorses'' episodes are, about 95% of them were based on stuff that had actually happened to the show's creator, John Sullivan, and/or members of his family. Reportedly, he didn't have to start thinking of any truly original storylines until near the end of the show's run.
* Miranda Hart, the writer and star of ''Miranda'' has said in an interview that the majority of the material comes from her own life, and that there are some incidents (including a very funny one about a train toilet) that she can't include in the show because the audience would think they are too far-fetched.
* David Simon worked as a journalist in Baltimore, and spent a year embedded with the homicide squad as research for his book ''Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets''. This was adapted into ''Series/HomicideLifeOnTheStreet'', which he also produced, and he later created ''Series/TheWire'', another police show set in Baltimore, which also includes a storyline about newspaper reporters.
* Ed Burns, the co-creator of ''Series/TheWire''. Much of the backdrop of season 4's criticisms towards the education system was based off Burns' experience as a retired-police-officer-turned-teacher.
* Brent Butt grew up in small town Saskatchewan. The show ''Series/CornerGas'', which he created and stars in, is set in the small town of Dog River. Its even more authentic since it was filmed in Rouleau, Saskatchewan and featured many locals as extras in it.
* Creator/DonaldPBellisario served in the [[SemperFi Marines]] and has created military-themed shows like ''Series/{{JAG}}'' and ''Series/{{NCIS}}''. Even shows not about the military featured a main character with a military background, like in ''Series/MagnumPI'' and ''Series/QuantumLeap''.
* Jeremy Lloyd had a stint working in the menswear department at Simpson's of Piccadilly, a now-defunct UsefulNotes/{{London}} department store. The employees he encountered became the inspirations for ''Series/AreYouBeingServed''
* ''Series/DrKen'' is loosely based on Ken Jeong's own experiences as a doctor before his StarMakingRole in ''Film/TheHangover'' film series. Jeong really is a licensed general practitioner, and his real life wife and friends are also doctors who occasionally help him fact check the dialogue.
* ''Series/{{Ozark}}'': Bill Dubuque was inspired to set a show on the Lake of the Ozarks after working there as a deck hand in his youth.

* In general this is why there are so many songs about music, traveling and long-distance relationships, as these are all specific aspects of the life of a professional musician.
* Music/AfterForever's ConceptAlbum ''Invisible Circles'' is based on the abused children that guitarist Sander Gommans met working as an art teacher.
* Music/TheRedChord's album ''Clients'' was based around Guy Kozowyk's experiences with the various psych patients who regularly walked into the convenience store that he used to work at, as said store was located next to a psychiatric hospital.
* Blue collar workers are frequently featured in the music of Canadian folk singer David Francey. Francey spent much of his early life working in carpentry and construction.
* [[Music/{{Revocation}} Dave Davidson]] was inspired by his time working in the morgue of a hospital (where his job mostly entailed moving bodies down to the basement) for the lyrics of "A Debt Owed to the Grave". At face value, it's about the deceased taking their journey with Charon, but it was just as much about his realization that his job description was essentially "ferryman of the dead".
* Music/AmandaPalmer's song "Mandy Goes To Med School" is a fictionalized retelling of her getting an abortion when she was 17.
* Music/MerleHaggard's prison songs qualify, given his own stint in prison.
* Music/RedHotChiliPeppers have a song about the death of band member Hillel Slovak once an album.
* Music/DreamTheater have done this often, but the clearest example has to be the Twelve-Step Suite, written about Mike Portnoy's recovery from alcoholism. It consists of five songs and twelve movements; each movement corresponds to one of Alcoholics Anonymous' eponymous twelve steps. The entire suite is dedicated to the group's founder Bill W. "and his friends" (i.e., the other members of the organisation).

[[folder:Video Games]]
* When Bethesda Studios took over the production of ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}}'', they based it in Washington, DC. Their studios used to be based in a suburb of Washington, DC called Bethesda, Maryland. This is why the landscape in ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}}'' is so detailed: the developers know the area. Gamers who live in the DC metro area noticed and praised Bethesda for it. Of course, the player can also explore a (fictionalized) version of the Bethesda Studios offices in the game.
* The sense of anxious dread and the intense physical and emotional distress that comes from it in ''[[VideoGame/ChzoMythos Trilby's Notes]]'' is so compelling and accurate because the game's creator, [[Creator/BenCroshaw Yahtzee]], suffers heavily from anxiety himself. He's made several comments to the effect of how anxiety and the resulting effect on fear affects him. It also explains Trilby's convincing social confidence tactics; Yahtzee himself does something very similar in social events by keeping people at a comfortable distance with his public persona, reserving more of his self-described neurotic behavior for private spaces with friends, or sometimes letting it slip through when interacting with [[VitriolicBestBuds Gabe]] on ''LetsPlay/LetsDrownOut''.

* The writer of the superhero webcomic ''Union of Heroes'' lives in the area where the stories of his comic take place and is a collector of superhero comic books.
* ''[[http://www.livingwithinsanity.com/index/ Living with Insanity]]'' is about a writer trying to make a career out of doing comics.
* Doc Nickel of ''Webcomic/TheWhiteboard'' fixes paintball markers for a living, just like his AuthorAvatar but with fewer railguns and {{Funny Animal}}s.
* ''Webcomic/TheOatmeal'' is focused on numerous subjects that have bugged artist/writer Matthew Inman over the course of his life, most famously a TakeThat rant towards his clientele when he worked as a web designer for 14 years.
* Christina Strain, writer of ''Webcomic/TheFoxSister'', grew up on the Yongsan military base in Seoul, on and around which the comic takes place.
* ''Webcomic/SaturdayMorningBreakfastCereal'' isn't just about what Zach Weinersmith knows, but since returning to university it's about ''everything'' he knows. The majority of strips are physics and math jokes, but jokes can be based on topics from any course he's taking. His classes must be full of fodder -- since returning to school he hasn't made any jokes about meeting his deadline, or failing to, and often produces more than one a day -- or one long equivalent to a week's worth of strips.

* According to [[http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/Matt-Groening-Reveals-the-Location-of-the-Real-Springfield.html this article]], when Creator/MattGroening was a kid, he thought the Springfield depicted in ''Series/FatherKnowsBest'' was actually Springfield, Oregon (which was a couple of hours away from his hometown of Portland). Thus, the genesis behind ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons''[='=]s use of the "WhereTheHellIsSpringfield" trope (even though it was specifically named after the state of Oregon).
** Mike Scully said he based the episode "Marge Be Not Proud", where Bart gets caught shoplifting and disappoints Marge, on his own experiences getting caught shoplifting as a kid.
* ''WesternAnimation/FIsForFamily'' is inspired by comedian Bill Burr's childhood in the 1970s.

* Creator/MontyPython were veteran British comedy writers, and much of the humor satirizes the tropes that British comedy writers (and British entertainment in general) were fond of that Python found suspect or trite. When they weren't LampshadeHanging it, they were doing their best to twist them or avoid them altogether. The members would also show off their elite education by littering their gags with pretty high-brow jokes and GeniusBonus.
* Even though they are small and relatively obscure fandoms, a surprising amount of the Franchise/{{Tron}} and WesternAnimation/ReBoot FanFic writers work in computer repair, system engineering, programming, and computer science.

!!InUniverse examples:

* Rohan Kishibe of ''Manga/JoJosBizarreAdventure'' fame (based partially off of author Hirohiko Araki) is a manga-ka that embraces this philosophy as part of his author abilities, believing that "researching reality" helps improve his stories greatly. Unfortunately he tends to take this to freakish extremes such as torturing and killing a spider to see how it reacts to pain, ''then licking its corpse just to see how it tastes''. His Stand, Heaven's Door, can read minds as well, so he uses it to [[WriteWhoYouKnow get more inspiration for his manga as well.]] Whether or not the participant is willing.
** Hirohiko Araki himself also subscribes to this idea, hence why many parts of the manga feature in-depth explanations on various international cultures (Up to and including Part 3 including a guide on how to barter for cheaply priced kebab meals.)
* In the eighth of the ''LightNovel/HaruhiSuzumiya'' novel series, the author wrote about writing, at some point the titular character states that "anyone can write" and she does in fact recruit almost everyone she knows to write for her literature magazine, while each of the characters ends up writing about a subject they do actually know about, only the ones who have the reading habit write something at least interesting, everyone else just throw random words together (and the ones who read the magazine does realize this).
* In ''Film/CabinByTheLake'', Stanley writes a horror movie script by covertly putting his own murderous depravities in the story. The murders he carries out are all 'research' for his story. Not a terribly smart move if he wanted to keep the fact that he's actually a serial killer a secret.
* [[SourOutsideSadInside Touko Fukawa]] in ''VisualNovel/{{Danganronpa}}'' is a famous [[RomanceNovel romance novelist]] who reveals to TheHero in her [[RelationshipValues Free Time Events]] that all her lovey-dovey stories are personal fantasies meant to add some happiness to her existence. When he encourages her to write how she actually feels, he finds the result amazingly well-written, yet so depressing that he almost wants to die from reading it. [[spoiler:Keep in mind that [[HopeBringer the same hero]] made it through the whole ordeal without giving into the BigBad's DespairGambit]].
* A song by Music/MitchBenn claims, amongst other things, that Creator/JKRowling can do magic, Creator/IanFleming is a superspy, and Creator/DickFrancis is a horse, before concluding "And [[YouDoNotWantToKnow you don't want to know]] the truth about Creator/StephenKing".
* [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9Uh_RucKz8 Parodied]] in ''Series/KeyAndPeele'', where Creator/StanLee decides to come by the Marvel offices to show off some new character concepts based on his experiences as a geriatric such as "Heyday", a superhero stuck in his glory days, "Techno", who has the power to understand modern technology or "The Grey Chaser", a hot middle-aged woman with a thing for older men. When the writers tells him that all of his ideas are unusable, he seemingly accepts this only to come up with a new superteam: The Fired Bunch, a bunch of youngsters who had the balls to bite the hand that fed them and are forever unemployable, which is met with applause.
* ''ComicStrip/{{Garfield}}'': [[http://www.gocomics.com/garfield/1988/02/10 Garfield wants to write a book]] and [[InvokedTrope claims]] "a writer must write something he knows about" while trying to decide on a theme. He picks "night indigestion".
* Another InUniverse example happens in ''LightNovel/ThePetGirlOfSakurasou''. While [[IdiotSavant Mashiro]]'s art skills are impeccable, her storytelling is just awful. Her editor Ayano suggested that she write what happens around where she lives. Her manga ''Nanohana-sou'' was in fact a replica of what happens in the Sakura Hall; she just switched the position of Sorata (her CloudcuckoolandersMinder) and herself.
* Satirized in a ''Website/TheOnion'' article about a tow-truck driver who has a [[https://entertainment.theonion.com/tow-truck-driver-has-great-idea-for-tow-truck-movie-1819566145 great idea]] for a thriller set in the world of tow-truck driving.