This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
It's natural (especially when you're just starting out) to emulate your favourite authors. There's nothing wrong with that. In fact, I'll go further and argue that it's a vital step in the process of becoming an accomplished writer and finding your own voice.
However, sooner or later, once you've written a couple of practice books or a hundred short stories or whatever, and your voice is coming through loud and clear, you need to decide what to write about. The kind of 'stuff' that will make up your fictional worlds.
I'd humbly suggest that you follow your heart. What do you really love? Really, truly love. Do you geek out over science? Do you adore reality TV? Whatever it is, don't be ashamed of your passions – use them.
Whether it's ancient Greece, Emily Dickinson or the mating behaviour of water voles, your interest will help to carry you through the hard slog of writing a novel and your honest passion will shine through in your writing.I'm not suggesting that you shoe-horn subjects artificially into your story but that you let your stories grow from your true passions and interests. It's very tempting to self-censor: We worry that our true selves are not interesting enough, that our passions are embarrassingly low-brow and not the stuff of 'literature'. And, even if you happen to have a genuine love for Proust, you may worry that you'll be seen as 'posh' or 'pseudo-intellectual'.
This advice goes double for choosing which genre to write in. If you love to read romance, adore romantic films and secretly want to wake up and find you've become Meg Ryan, then for goodness sake don't stop yourself from writing a romance book because you've heard that 'thrillers are big at the moment' or because you’re worried it’ll be labelled ‘trashy’.
It’s worth remembering that you cannot please everybody and that you’ll never be your true self (or write your best work) while trying to do so.
Whatever you write, somebody will misunderstand, dislike or denigrate it. If it makes your soul sing with joy you won’t care half as much when that happens.