Just Write It

When you first started writing did you know immediately the kind of book you would write?

People often talk about “finding themselves” and I suppose for many of us it comes down to living an authentic life, and being who we really are without worrying about disappointing those around us.

Writers also need to find out who they are as a writer, what genre they write in, and what their own unique style is.

It wasn’t until I’d been writing short fiction for many years that I began to notice a pattern in my writing. Most of my protagonists were kids, and it felt quite natural to write from a child’s POV. Even so, at that time, I didn’t consider the stories that I was writing were intended for a young audience because they weren’t. The literary magazines that published them didn’t think so either.

Still, I had this strong need to write for kids that didn’t go away. It wasn’t until a writer (one who had just published her first young adult novel) basically told me not to worry about who I was writing the story for that I felt completely free to write. She advised me to simply write it and, once it was written, then decide if it was best told for a young adult audience.

I took her words to heart and shortly afterward began writing Bitter, Sweet. I knew I had a story to tell and I couldn’t allow myself to get caught up in a game of self-doubt. Just write it. Just write the story, my story—those words stuck in my mind.

So what happened to my writing over time?

The best way for me to describe it is to say, I slipped into a time and place that felt so utterly right for me. Right now, I’m particularly happy setting my stories during the first half of the twentieth century. That time is like a welcomed friend, one that I greet with open arms. For me, writing needs to be enjoyable, a safe place for me to explore who I am and where my writing is taking me. It is a place where I can take my characters, explore their feelings, and discover who they are as well. I don’t worry anymore what genre I’m writing in these days because so far as I’m concerned, we do not pick the genre, the genre picks us.

What genre do you write in? Do you agree with my statement that we do not pick the genre, but rather the genre picks us?

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