A few weeks ago I read this great article by Julie Eshbaugh over at publishing crawl. In it, she suggests that you write what you love. This is something that I already do and thought that it is great advice to share.
A lot of aspiring writers asks themselves what they should write, and one of the first things they will probably be told is ‘Write what you know’. And I believe this is helpful, a lot of writers put their own experiences into their books, but I think it is even more important to write what you love. To write the book you want to read, as Toni Morrison suggests, “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”
Julie advisors to write what you love because ‘Writing a novel is like entering into a committed relationship. You will spend countless evenings with your characters. (If you’re dreaming of writing a series, you will be with those characters for years…) The only way that you will be able to devote so much time and energy and passion into a story without plunging into complete despair is to Write what you love. Write characters you love, in a setting you love, in situations you love. Make them hurt so that your heart breaks for the love of them. Lift them up so that your love for them makes their victories your victories, too.’
Writing a novel is a huge investment in your time, and unless your getting paid to write, you have to write in your spare time, which a lot of people don’t have much of. Something that takes up a lot of time shouldn’t be taken lightly. And it should be enjoyable.
Like many things, if you aren’t enjoying what you are doing, you are going to give up, which is why you’ll hear a lot of writers suggest that you first write for yourself, not thinking about if your novel will sell, who it will sell to, who the readers will be and so on. That all comes with editing. Write the story that you want.
I suggest that you write in the genre that you love to read. And to read widely in the genre that you are writing in. If you are writing to be published you need to know your market. What kinds of books are being published. What the word count limits are etc.
In saying this, I’m not suggesting that you write something that is trending. You might think that writing a book that is trending at the moment will be more likely to get published, but writing a book that is trending doesn’t mean you are going to get published. By the time you finish it that trend may be over. And Julie says, ‘While I think it’s only natural to want your book to sell, I believe it’s a fool’s errand to choose your genre or topic or story inspiration based on a perceived shift in the winds of publishing.’ And I agree.
You have to write the best you can, aiming to write something unique, fresh and as original as possible.
So if you are considering the question what should I write, I say, write what you love to read and you can’t go wrong.