When Writing a Book You Do You

  • By: Jessica Faust | Date: May 06 2021

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.

4 responses to “When Writing a Book You Do You”

  1. Avatar Kim Beall says:

    I love your take on this! Well, you seem to have a knack for cutting through the crap on most debates. 🙂 I write about the things I want to read about, because nobody else seems to be willing to write them these days. To wit: stories about adult protagonists with life histories who are just discovering that real magic actually exists in the world. There are lots of boxes everyone tells me I need to cram my work into: my female protagonists need to be under 25, and ideally closer to 13. If I must insist my MC is old enough to have grown children of her own, my “magic” needs to have an OCD about making sure everyone’s insides are all over the walls. If I do neither of these things, I have to at least set my stories someplace medieval rather than in the current era. But I know there are lots of people my age who want to read what I want to read – I know it for a fact now that I’ve started writing it! Maybe I really will end up creating my own box, and maybe a lot of people will be glad I did.

  2. Avatar AJ Blythe says:

    I had to laugh at your last sentence, Jessica. for the first time in my life, yesterday I bought skinny jeans. Great analogy.

  3. Avatar ezra says:

    Writing a book is such a hard work, mostly people just but their favorite books and read it. But writing a books sometime needs a UAE assignment writers couple of year, but I only prefer to read my books these days.

  4. Avatar Lexi Naia says:

    I love this. Thanks for sharing!

    This attitude needs to be applied to so many areas in life, and sometimes we all need reminding of that.