Recently I've had a discussion with a Facebook friend that has led me to blog about the subject. Mainly because I was where she is years ago and I want to try to help her with her dilemma. Her issue - what to write about? What will resonate? What will draw people to my book?
I remember having the same thoughts, the same self-esteem issues. Basically, am I good enough to write? But another part of this - what genre should I write in?
Yes, this is a tough problem, but if writing is calling you then yes, you should write. Personally when I hear these questions it only tells me you care, therefore you should definitely write.
I wanted to write a book my whole life. I used every excuse in the book not to do it - not because I didn't want to, but because I worried I would suck. So typical of any artist. We have self-esteem issues.
When I used to book comedians and bands I would go and watch their shows. I recall many conversations where they would worry about their performance. They would be harder on themselves than the audience dared to be. In fact, most shows the people loved them. I would tease all of the comics and tell them I was going to have self-esteem classes for them. Then I decided to write my book. That's when I got my first taste of what they're going through.
I want to list a few pointers that I hope will help my friend in her decision. I know it's a tough one and she will have to make the first move toward her dream, but possibly these few suggestions will help in her decision making.
1. Make a list : Write down your many ideas for stories. There's no need to be overly detailed, just put the ideas on paper. Hopefully one of them will resonate with you once you list it.
2. What genre : First, fiction or non-fiction? Once that's decided, them you can determine the genre. To pick the one that's best for you, ask yourself these questions. What do I like to read, mysteries, epic fantasy, scifi? What is my favorite subject?
For years I wanted to write non-fiction, but I realized how much research would have to go into it. It probably would take me much longer and, not to mention, would I be educated enough in the subject to discuss it. So I changed to fiction. In the beginning I tried to write a murder mystery because I loved to read them. Not the right genre for me to write about. Why? Because I couldn't get into the mind of a psycho path.
But it got me writing - in fact I wrote ten chapters before I decided to put it away. After that I gave myself a couple of months of no writing hoping something would come to me. It did.
I realized I might like to read mysteries and thrillers, but I loved to watch movies and television programs that were fantasy fiction based. By giving myself that time to let the right thing come to life I was able to discover my true calling.
On top of that I already had my main character - Stevie. She was my protagonist in the mystery story. I really liked the character so I kept her when deciding what my story would be about.
So it can be tough trying to decide what genre, but I think what really helped me is I started writing.
3. Join writing groups : I cannot express how much this can help. I met plenty of writers in these classes that were in the same boat - what to write about. One of them finally started writing and self-published a small book recently.
The other writers are so supportive. Plus you will learn so much. I suggest either a local romance writers group, (they aren't only about romance) or go online to Meetup.com and try to find a group that way. Well worth the time and energy. It will get you involved with other writers and writing period. Once your mind is focused on writing it will make all the difference in the world. And you will meet life-long friends and possibly a critique partner.
4. Just write : Write about anything. What's going on in your life, dreams of the future, list your favorite books. Whatever you want to write about. The more you practice the better.
5. Read a lot : Take the time to read. In fact a writer's homework is reading. Look at the way the author writes. Decide what draws you in. Is it a page turner and why. Reading in fundamental for the writer. Don't let yourself come up with a bunch of excuses not to read. If you really want to write this is crucial. Another great idea - read books about writing, I suggest Steven King's book on writing, it's great!
So I hope these 5 suggestions will help you decide what to write about and what genre. I believe if this is something you feel strongly enough to reach out to another author, then this is right for you.
Those other writers on here who went through this process please let me know what helped you. I would love to help my friend find the niche that will get her writing.
Until next week, have a great weekend. Stay warm everyone!