When I first started writing I read every craft book I could get my hands on. I read "write what you know," over and over again. This seemed like realistic advice and a great approach to a newbie writer like myself. As I became more and more experienced, I pushed myself into writing outside of the comfort zone of what I knew. Jesse's Brother takes place on a ranch in a small Oregon town. Guess what? I've never been on a ranch before and I'm a big city kind of girl so I didn't have the experience other than the occasional trip to the local petting zoo. But I learned and was able to pull it off.
I learned recently that "writing what you know" isn't the most important thing after all. One day at a book signing, some authors and I went on a short field trip to an astrology store. I love fairies and the store had a fabulous display of them. Well, later that night I found a submission request in my in-box. I got all excited over the idea that popped into my head. A fantasy romance with a matchmaking fairy! I started writing with excitement for this genre that was new to me. You see, I don't read or watch or write anything that has to do with fantasy. I wrote and wrote but then got stuck! I haven't had writer's block in so long and couldn't understand why it happened then.
After reworking scenes, trying to add stuff, and continued to be stuck I figured out the problem. It wasn't that I didn't like the story or the characters. Both had promise. The problem was that I didn't believe in the store. Even when I tried working on one of my other WIPs I continued to be stuck. I finally discarded the novel since I didn't think I was the correct person to writing that genre.
Now I believe it isn't 'write what you know' but it is 'write what you believe in!"
Talk to you soon,