Write ‘What You Know’ or ‘What You Love’
It is hard to know, for sure, which works best . . .
I have attended numerous creative writing classes and workshops over the years, all of them offering valuable advice. But there has always been two conflicting pieces of advice, from well-known, established writers, which still cause me confusion. Some writers feel that you should only –
WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW
while other writers feel you should only –
WRITE WHAT YOU LOVE
Thankfully, I have done well with both. But I do find it weird, firstly that I have ever written a poignant short story and secondly that it won first prize! This obviously came about, sub-consciously, from the Write What You Know rule of thumb as, although most of it was fiction, elements of my childhood memories also emerged. I remember being in an exceptionally good mood the evening I wrote it – and I knew it was totally unlike anything else I had ever written. Weirder still when I NEVER, intentionally, read sad stories or watch sad movies. But, I really liked this one, and thankfully, so did the judges . . .
Having said that, I feel that my heart definitely lies on the side of Write What You Love – which, for me, would have to be psychological thrillers! Even though this is not necessarily the area that I would, personally, know the most about. I devour thrillers and my latest rule, to read only one-book-at-a-time, has me reading a fascinating book on forensics. Maybe not the best bed-time read, with pen-in-hand, as I take notes for my latest crime scene! But I am delighted that, by writing what I love, one of my thriller short stories was recently given an honorary mention and is due to be published very soon.
I would be very interested in your views and comments, as either a writer or a reader, as to which you think works best for you and why . . .