There’s a pretty common saying in the writing world: write what you know. I think there’s a lot to unpack in that phrase, both to follow religiously, and to ignore at the right moments. At some point there will probably be a post dedicated to that exact concept. Right now though, I want to talk about a phrase that is far less common, but just as important: write what you love.
This phrase is true for all forms of writing; articles, novels, poetry, comic books, and also across all genres; crime, fantasy, young adult, and of course, romance. The fact of the matter is, it doesn’t really matter how much you’re being paid, or how literary you want to be, or how much you think you can impress someone. Unless you’re writing something that you love, it’s not going to be your best work.
Now, I don’t mean this in a strict, dictatorial way. Obviously there are going to be moments when you don’t love what you are doing at all. You are going to want breaks, to not have writers block, and to be paid actual money for what you are doing.
What I mean is, when you are deciding what to write, take into account what you feel. If you hate romance stories: hate reading them, hate the idea of them and get frothy feminist over the very concept, then probably trying to write romance is a terrible idea. Don’t do it. Regardless of whether you think it’ll be easier to get published.
Same goes for teen vampire novels. If Twilight makes you twitchy, and True Blood makes your blood boil, don’t write a vampire novel, even if they are (or were) on trend. Now I’m not saying you have to love Twilight if you want to write about vampires. I’m saying don’t force yourself, or your writing, to be something that it’s not because of money, opportunities, or trends.
Besides, the fact is that if you write about an on trend topic, by the time your book is ready it probably will be past it.
If you have a guilty reading pleasure then chances are you would be good at writing the same thing. Do you love reading comments on articles, or forums? Try one of the question hubs on Hub Garden. Do you enjoy reading fantasy or sci-fi? Why not write up a short story and submit to a magazine like Uncanny. If you love a little romance, why not write for Love Romance?
The best writers are readers too, and passion for your subject comes across in your writing. So does sarcasm. Writing something that you yourself don't respect is never a good idea.
What meaning do you get from the phrase: write what you love?