When it comes to writing a book the most common bit of advice is, “write what you know.” What we often get from that wisdom is too narrow and, frankly sometimes boring. I have a revised bit of advice, “you do you.”
Write What You Know
Write what you know doesn’t mean as a real estate agent you need to write a real estate agent protagonist. I see a lot of those. I have yet to see one that excites me. It does not mean you need to write a mom in suburbia or an avid birder.
It means if you’ve never read domestic suspense you probably should not write it just because it’s trendy. If you don’t know what a cozy mystery is, what defines the genre, you probably aren’t the author to write it.
If you do love historical romance and have a passion for it, you should probably consider writing it. Even if your critique group keeps telling you it’s “dead.” For those writing outside of the genre, historical romance has been touted as “dead” my entire career. I didn’t believe it then, I don’t believe it now.
You Do You
You do you is that point where a book goes from blah, to fantastic. When you take what might be seen as boring to some and make it riveting. You do you means you’re not writing what is trendy or fits certain rules. That you’re pushing against the boundaries others want to keep you in and writing the book you want to write.
You do you is what gave us books like YOU, MEXICAN GOTHIC and STATION ELEVEN. These were authors who took ideas that didn’t fit in boxes and created their own boxes. They created something that now everyone else wants to see.
When writing your book, and listening to your critique partners, are you finding yourself changing who you are as a writer? Are you conforming?
Are you wearing mom jeans just because everyone else tells you it’s what’s hot when in your heart you’re really a skinny jean person?
Stop. Put on the skinny jeans and do you.