What Kind of Writing?

So let’s say that you’ve decided to be a writer. Great! Go you! But how do you figure out what KIND of writing you want to do?

By the way, I’m talking about writing here because that’s my experience. But I think this same issue crops up in all creative endeavors. How do you decide whether you want to study French cuisine or Italian? To paint landscapes or abstract murals? To photograph puppies or homeless people? What do you actually WANT to do?

If you want to be a writer, there are a lot of ways you can go. You can write fiction or non-fiction, literary or genre, essay or poetry. There are a lot of forks you can take on the writerly road. Sometimes the problem is not finding characters or a plot or outlining. Sometimes the problem is simply figuring out which fork in the road to take.

First you have to start out with what you like. What do you read? What fires your imagination? When you’re at the Amazon or Barnes and Noble site, where are you browsing? What part of a bookstore do you find yourself spending the most time in? Where do you lose the most time?

Just as a side note – if you don’t read, you’d better think twice about being a writer. More on that in future posts.

For me, the answer to the questions posed above is fiction. I read non-fiction too, but for the most part I’m drawn to storytelling of the fictional persuasion.

Okay, fiction. But that doesn’t narrow it down far enough. There are still a lot of ways you can go. There’s literary fiction. Science fiction. Fantasy. Romance. Mystery. Β And those are just the bigger categories.

Again, I look back at what I love to read. And if you’ve read my biography, you know that I love romance. Romance in its various forms is the bulk of what I read. The last literary novel I picked up was Weird Sisters by the delightful Eleanor Brown (and it was well worth it, by the way). I haven’t read straight out (non-romance) science fiction or fantasy in ages. I love mystery, but I find myself disappointed if the detective doesn’t end up with a happy ever after at the end.

Okay, romance. But wait, the romance category itself is pretty broad. And even though I read all romance, there are parts of it I love more than others. I absolutely LOVE to read romantic suspense, contemporary romance and paranormal romance. I read historicals, but I don’t feel passionate (hah!) about them. I read in lots of other more niche categories – science fiction romance, erotic, GLBT, etc – but thus far I haven’t felt compelled to write one of my own.

In other words, when I drill down into my own likes and dislikes, I come up with romantic suspense, contemporary romance, and paranormal romance. That’s where I spend my money and my time. Those categories are where I have the most reading experience. Those are the genres I love and feel passionate about. So those are the genres I should be writing.

And I think that the same thing can be applied to any creative endeavor. What is it you really love? Forget about what other people tell you that you should be doing, what do you love? What is your passion? Where do you spend your time and your money? That is what you should concentrate on.

In my humble opinion. Β πŸ˜€



  1. This is an awesome post and very true for a lot of people.

    I spend a large amount of money on Romantic suspense, but I have no desire to write about it πŸ™‚ but I do love to write no fiction stuff that I am passionate about. Although a year ago I had no idea I even had a passion for writing LOL Who knows maybe as I work my way through my writing classes I will find a love for writing fiction too. I plan on taking some creative writing classes that includes at least one fiction class. πŸ™‚

    • Betsy Horvath says

      @Doris: I guess what I’m trying to say is that you have to find the thing you’re passionate about and, if you’re a writer, that’s what you should write. And don’t let anyone tell you differently. It’s so easy to be influenced when other people say “oh, you should write about…” But you have to figure out your own path and follow it, even if nobody understands what in the heck you’re doing. And you’re probably going to write a non-fiction book about romantic suspense! LOL πŸ˜€

      • @Betsy Horvath:
        I totally get that! I’m always preaching do what you are passionate about. It makes life so much more fun and relaxing you know?

        Remember that young man I was telling you about the other day struggling in my writing class? We were talking again. He chose his topic because it had to do with the field of work he wants to go into. The problem is he is finding it boring LOL So I explained he needs to find something inside his topic that makes him passionate. While talking he tells me some trivia ( I already knew it but played along πŸ™‚ ) He tells me how we have microwaves because of space exploration. He was so excited to tell me. We started talking about other things that we have because of the Space program like tang, freeze-dried foods and what not. I looked at him and said instead of just arguing against the budget cuts to NASA because you feel it’s an important program you could use this angle to make your paper more fun to write and read. His eyes lit up and he says ya maybe! I hope he can make it fun for himself.

        I just love researching so much and talking to people in the fields of my topics it makes the whole process of the paper enjoyable to me.
        You have to have passion in your life, not just in your romance πŸ™‚ umm pun maybe or may not be intended…

        If I write a book at all I will give thanks to you for making me think about it πŸ™‚ LOL

        • Betsy Horvath says

          @Doris: I hope he writes that paper. If that’s what he’s interested in, it will be much better than something he forced himself to write. I think school is hard because you’re given a structure you’re supposed to stay within. On the other hand, it’s good because it teaches you to produce when you’re confronted with a deadline. LOL Lord knows I’ve written enough papers I could wallpaper the house with them. And I still remember the sinking feeling when you get the assignment and think “Really? What the h*ll am I going to do with this one?” Good times. LOL πŸ˜€

  2. I hope you publish all of your blogs in a book someday….another great blog. For me and the camera lately, it’s been fire escapes. An interesting psychology case, huh?

    • Betsy Horvath says

      @Laryn: But if fire escapes are what you’re passionate about then I say go forth! And I’m not even going to comment on your psychology. LOL πŸ˜€

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