Write What You Love

We've all heard the advice, write what you know.  There's been a lot of debate over this piece of advice.  Some see it as valid direction while others argue that there wouldn't be any books if we just wrote what we know.  For example, how many mystery novels are written by real-life detectives?  And, I guess that advice is null when it comes to fantasy genres, and historical fictional works.  No fairy from Neverland wrote a book, and no one from over a hundred years ago can write a book currently.  But, this doesn't mean that we can get sloppy, in fact more work is involved, and this is why writing what we love supersedes all, in my opinion.  How else would we get motivated, and stay motivated to see a novel through to the end?

In fact isn't it love for what we’re writing what pushes us through to the conclusion even when we may find the interest in our book weaning, or through the rough middles?  Isn't it the love for what we're writing that forces us to get our facts right?  It's been touched on many times, on this bog and other sites, but if you fail to put the time in to ensure accuracy, you risk losing your reader for life.  This involves research, sometimes hours, sometimes days.  But if you didn't love what you were writing, why would you bother?

I understand the concept of self-discipline, of pushing yourself to write when you're tempted to make excuses not to.  But, I need to love what I'm writing.  I need to see and feel the characters.  They have to draw me in to tell their story.

What about you?  How do you work?  Do you agree that love of what you're writing is key?


  1. You have to write what you know is true to yourself, great advice. Good article, I loved it.

  2. Thank you Katie. I'm glad you loved it :)

  3. I've never taken "write what you know" literally. I've always thought it was more about emotion and theme than what a person does for a living.

    Totally agree with you that you need to love what you're writing. It makes all the difference.

  4. Good for you for having 7 novels under your belt. Wow!

    I tend to focus on my locale when I'm writing fiction that takes place in the modern day. I like scifi because I can make places up and don't have to worry about getting the details "right". I guess what I'm saying is, I'm lazy. I don't want to do too much research!

  5. I absolutely think you need to write what you love. A persons passion shows in their writing and can make or break a book for me. I also think writers need to have a passion for books. To be an effective writer, you need to be an avid reader.

  6. Oh, yes. If it wasn't for the love I have for my characters, I probably would have thrown in the towel on some stories a long time ago. A love for the characters and a desire to tell their stories has kept me going through a lot.

  7. Thank you all for your comments.

    Sondrae, so true. There's times when a scene I write scares me. I believe that has to translate to the reader. If a scene moves me to tears writing it, it's going to convey itself in the words. As for being an avid reader, also important.

  8. Laura, we must have been posting the same time :)

    Characters - definitely play a role. They tell us what's going on, don't they? They "talk" all the time, and make us write even when we're tired or procrastinating. lol I especially had this pull when I wrote my suspense novel.

  9. The "Write what you know" theory might have held true in Heminway's time, but in this day and age it may not be feasible. He had opportunities to travel all over the world, and many experiences. Today we have the Internet and most of us cannot escape our day jobs long enough to experience the WORLD. As and example, my novels are based out of New York City, and I have never had the opportunity to visit there. All of my research was either via the internet or through interviews and e-mails with current and former NYPD personnel.

    If we as writers limited ourselves to only what we know, bookshelves all over the world would be barren. I say, Write what you are enthustisastic about, what you love, what you dream about. Don't limit yourself, think outside the box.

  10. To me, the answer is simple: you have to write what you love. Otherwise, what's the point of writing?

  11. Sometimes I get tired of what I'm writing. Actually, it comes during the editing phase. I have to take a few days off before I plunge in again. I have a story right now about an African village. Never been there but my friend who has said my story reads authentically. She's been there at least 4 times.
    Great post!

  12. I agree Dana.

    And Taffy, I'm the same way. Edits take so much discipline. It's great you have a friend who has been to your African village too.

  13. I'm not sure it necessarily has to be something you LOVE. I mean, I wrote about rape, and I certainly don't love that or the consequences of it or getting inside the monster's head. It was scary and emotional for me. However, it was something I felt I NEEDED to do.

    In other cases, I've written about something that interests me or something about which I want to learn more. Not necessarily topics I could say I LOVE, exactly.

    You know...I'd say passion. Write about your passions. Passions aren't necessarily loves.

    I guess I'm reading too much into the words themselves. But I write about my passions, my loves, and sometimes just that which sparks some sort of interest in me.

    Good post though. Maybe it'll spark some interest in this writer who hasn't been...writing. :)

  14. Welcome to my blog April. And yes, I see what you're saying in the technical sense. For example, I write about murderers and I DON'T love killers.

    I'm glad you liked the post, though and I hope it did spark your writing. :)

  15. I have to love what I'm writing if I'm going to force myself to work on those days I'd rather play. And I love my characters

  16. Welcome to my blog Rebecca. Thank you for the comment, and the follow :)

  17. Great advice! And I agree with Rebecca, I love my characters!


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