Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Write what you love

Friday night, I sat down with a beer and baseball audio playing and did something I haven't done in months -- worked on one of my writing projects.

It felt really good. So good I might do it again this Friday night.

The last time I spent any significant time with one of my novels-in-progress was November.  I attempted National Novel Writing Month and fell way short.  I don't even think I got to 25,000 words. There are two reasons for that.  One, my month was busier than anticipated.  Two, I just was not feeling the story.

Honestly, the second reason is the biggest one. My first three self-published works are novels.  Two of them could probably be categorized as romance, but I think the third one is just plain contemporary fiction.  Sure, there are some romantic relationships involved, but there's also a lot about friendship.

This last November, I decided to try writing mystery/suspense. I wanted a new challenge, and, if I'm being honest, I was tired of people mocking the genre I had written. So I tried something else that I thought more people would like. I quickly figured out I am not built to write those kind of books.

My first clue should have been when I sent out the first chapter and one of my trusted readers and friends said, "It's good, but if you're trying to write something different than your past ones, well ... this is starting out a lot like your other books."  Hmm.

My second clue should have been my lack of desire to work on it. With my other writings, I thought about my characters all day when I was away from them. I couldn't wait to get back to the document each evening and find out what they'd get up to next.  That was not the case with my mystery attempt. I tried to make my characters interesting and compelling to me, but ... they weren't.  Or maybe they just weren't in this context.

So, when I sat down Friday night, I opened an old project I had started in November 2013. It's a sequel to my last self-published work, Riffs of Regret. I started at page one and began re-reading, revising, and re-writing. It was exhilarating to be back with my beloved characters. I'm going to keep working on this one and then start in on the baseball novel (again, I'm not sure it qualifies as romance) I finished two years ago that is ready for editing. These books are about realistic people, relationships, and challenges. These are the stories I enjoy reading, so obviously I should be writing them as well.

I'm going to turn my back on people who call my work "chick lit" with a disgusted look on their face. I'm a female who writes fiction, but it shouldn't be dismissed as inferior because of that.

I'm going to ignore those who tell me I can't write about relationships when I don't have a lot of experience with them. Did J.K. Rowling have a lot of experience with sorcerers? Did Stephenie Meyer live with vampires? Did George R.R. Martin live in medieval times?

Simply put, I'm going to write what I love. Because if I don't love it, no one else will even like it.


6 comments:

  1. People scoff at "chick lit," but it's a huge market, and I love it! I scoff at science fiction, but it's the same way. There's a niche for everyone-- writers and readers. If you're not into what you're writing, I dare say that it can't possibly be good. You have to love it before others do, which is what it sounds like you discovered. So good for you for going back to what you love-- who cares about those naysayers! :)

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  2. "I'm going to turn my back on people who call my work "chick lit" with a disgusted look on their face. I'm a female who writes fiction, but it shouldn't be dismissed as inferior because of that."

    ^^^^^^^YESSSSSSS. This is such a great post with such a tough lesson to learn. You are spot on with doing something you love, because if you don't no one else will even like it.---YES. I've been struggling with this with some new endeavors I'm working on and I am constantly coming back to this reminder. Still working on Riffs of Regret but I better get to it if there's gonna be a sequel!! YAY!

    Happy writing and a happy heart to you!

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  3. I think it's super important to write from your own voice and thoughts rather than to cater to what people want. I hit a major writers block with my old blog when I felt I had to write as if I was some sort of expert. When I started my new blog I decided I was going to write from my soul and my mind and this raw point of view seems to be a bigger hit :) Writing about what you love and relate to is the best kind!

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  4. YES! Go get 'em girl! I firmly believe that you have to write about what you love because that's when it's the best. People feel your passion. It sounds real. It's good. It's not fake. I also feel you have to write about what scares you. When I was a dating blogger, many people made fun of what I wrote. Many people also didn't think I should be writing about it because I didn't have a boyfriend or wasn't married or whatever. But what made my blog popular was the fact that it wasn't real and I didn't know everything. And it encouraged me and my readers to learn more. A good friend once told me that if no one hates what you're doing (or if no one is being negative) then you're probably not doing something right. I firmly believe that. (sorry for the very long ranty comment!)

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  5. Get it! You should write about whatever you damn well please, because it's YOUR story. You're in charge. Screw everyone else who may dismiss what you love as chick lit. There will be plenty of us standing in line to read what you write.

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  6. I had no idea you wrote your own novels - how amazing! Write what you love, who cares what any of the haters are going to say! I would love to read some of your work - I'm a self-confessed book-a-holic, and I love to devour all kinds of things, romance and friendship themed in particular... Best of luck writing what you love!!

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