Our writing group randomly picked five words with the challenge being to take those five words and weave them into a short story. No matter what words they managed to bring together, I found myself weaving them into a mystery or suspense.
When I write fiction, I lean towards the mystery and suspense. I prefer to read in those genres as well. They are my natural slant.
My husband will tell you that I live in a world of rainbows and lollipops. The statement began out of his annoyance at me for finding the “silver lining” in a situation when he was angry at that same situation. The tag stuck. I like the idea of living in a world of rainbows and lollipops. I prefer to find the good, positive, encouraging and uplifting. When I write non-fiction, or when I create a presentation, I tend to lean in the direction of hope. I am a hopesmith. That is my natural slant.
Knowing your own slant will help you discover the best path for your writing. It may also end up opening up doors that you might not have otherwise considered.
What should you write?
1. Write what you know. This was the first tip that I received when I started pursuing a writing career. It is still one of the top tips that I hear. I understand the concept. Your voice will be stronger when you are confident in your words. You are most confident when you are wading into waters that you know. (Tip: knowledge can be gained)
2. Write what you enjoy. Nothing is more painful that creating words that have no interest to you. The reader will likely get the same vibe. Forced stories read as forced stories. To have a natural flow to what you write, you have to enjoy the words. (Tip: you can enjoy the process and not necessarily the topic)
3. Write what you are. You have so many directions you can already write. Your education gives you some direction. Your family life opens up more directions. Your job continues to expand the opportunities. Reflect on all that you are to begin discovering what you should be writing. (Tip: Ask others what they find to be your top skills or abilities to get even more ideas)
Seven Steps to Learn Your What
Step One: Make a list of all your personal interests.
Step Two: Make a list of all your gifts and talents.
Step Three: Make a list of all those things others ask you to do or the topics people tend to come to you for advice.
Step Four: Make a list of all your education, the courses and classes you have taken or the seminars you have attended.
Step Five: Make a list of your favorite subjects – those topics that energize and ignite your spirit.
Step Six: Make a list of all of your current jobs, past jobs and all of those jobs within the job description (include jobs in the home and outside the home).
Step Seven Review all of the lists. Look for common themes within the lists. Circle those top items that show up across lists. Those that appear on more than one list can be your top topics, but all of the topics on your lists are potential writing opportunities. You may have to continue to invest some resources into growing your knowledge, but you may also discover that you have a wide variety of “what” already sitting in your portfolio.
Find your what – and through that what your unique voice – and you will be closer to growing that successful writing career.