Monday, May 17, 2010

What I Want to Write

I haven't been writing much about writing lately. And that's because . . . I haven't been writing much lately. I've been freelancing more lately. Like, for money. That's important, and it takes up a lot of the time I used to spend writing creatively. (And blogging.)

It's really really hard to keep up with: raising kids, running a household, menu planning (and shopping and preparing healthy food), keeping active, freelancing during "free" time, AND creative writing.

It can be done, of course. In fact, I've done it! (Although when I'm writing busily I often let exercise and eating-in slide a little bit.) So the real reason I haven't been writing as much lately must be something else.

I believe it's because I'm still trying to figure out what to write. Write what you read! goes the standard advice. Well, I like to read lots of stuff. I've tried to write what I read, and even some stuff I don't read as much of for variety.

And after much effort I've determined that it's a real struggle for me to write
children's lit
sci fi and fantasy
and . . . mysteries. I've worked the longest at writing mysteries! I've studied really hard! I've practiced! I've loved reading these all my life! I'm an active member of Sisters in Crime! And maybe one day I'll write a mystery that I think is good enough to share with others.

But in the meantime, where the writing feels most real and most natural and most fun and most exiting is when I'm writing something a lot like . . .

Literary fiction or maybe book club fiction ("commercial fiction," I suppose, though I don't really tend to see the two as such distinctly different genres as some do). So: commercial literary fiction. I think I have drool on my chin. Upmarket fiction.

But the derision!
The pretension!
What unpublished writer could claim to be writing a book like that?!

Those books, the ones that might have stamps from prestigious awards on their covers, the ones with thought-provoking readers' guides, the ones that "use too many words" (as determined by a writer friend of mine who's all about pace and urgency and cutting out all "unnecessary" description) those are the books that really touch me, that really get me excited, that make me think:

I want to do that!

And so. I live. I experience. I feel. I read. I think. I practice. I write.

And someday, hopefully, I'll have a novel I'm proud to show others.

(Image from


  1. I think it should be less "write what you read" and more write what you love, what excites you to become a writer, what sparks your creative energy. I've known for a long time that I wanted to be a writer, but even then I didn't think I wanted to write romance. I write romance because it's the type of story I love. I need a happy ever after. I love to fall in love over and over again.

    And while each genre has it's own staple of dos and don'ts, they also stray into each other nicely. If you want to write Commercial Literary Fiction, go for it. Write the story you want to tell.

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