I've heard many people say to "write what you know", but I don't think you HAVE to write what you know-you can research the heck out of something and find the magic that will allow you to put your reader into the situation-BUT-If you DO write what you know, there is much less research necessary, and you have a hold on every sense(as in sound, smell, etc...) available. When I was young, my family moved and I was excited about meeting new people, but as the day to go to the new school drew closer, I began to almost lose control of my nerves, and I visibly shook the day I was enrolled. I remember the smell of cafeteria rolls and the stares of the class I was lead into. Nobody knew me, and I was too nervous to speak. The fear and sadness grew out into my entire world, and lasted months. It was a horrible experience for me, and it still pricks me now. But- Because I felt my way through that experience, I know what words sound like through chattering teeth, and how long you have to wait in a bathroom stall before the red leaves your face from crying.
In every painful moment, writers are given a thousand free words.