5 Topics Every Author MUST Write About
Writers don’t like being told what to do. That’s part of what makes us writers. We like to write about what we want to write about, and if somebody tells us what to write about, a lot of us will struggle.
Just like most people, I don’t like being told what to do, but I also don’t like telling others what to do. This puts me in a bad position. If I don’t like being told what to do and I don’t like telling others what to do, then I’m in a social no-man’s land.
Maybe that’s why I like being a writer; I have complete control without really having to make decisions for anybody else. I don’t like being told what to read either. As a reader, I constantly see lists about what books I should read, must read, have to read. The best thing about not being in school anymore is that nobody tells me what to read, and if somebody does tell me what to read, I’m usually getting paid for it.
Even though I’ve seen plenty of online lists telling readers what to read, I’ve never seen a list of what writers have to write about. If there are certain books we must read, then there must be certain topics that we should have to write about. It just makes sense.
But I don’t like telling others what to do, and I feel awkward telling other writers what they have to write about. It goes against my nature. Then again, I’m not the one who decided what authors have to write about. It just is. If you’re going to write, these are topics that you have to write about. These aren’t the only topics you have to cover, but you have to write about these. There’s no way around it.
A lot of writing advice sounds pompous. I don’t want to give any examples because I don’t want to offend any advice-givers by calling them pompous, but you probably know what I mean. Nothing sounds more pompous than saying MUST really loudly. If I’m going to give writing advice, I might as well go all out and sound pompous, so you MUST write about these topics if you want to be an author.
Maybe the contrarian writer will look at the following list and say, “Screw you, Dysfunctional Literacy! You can’t tell me what to write!” The contrarian writer might go out of his/her way to deliberately avoid writing about the following topics just to prove to it can be done, just to demonstrate that a writer doesn’t have to MUST write about any particular topic.
While I respect the contrarian author, I’m not sure he or she would be able to write without ever focusing on one of the following topics:
Most stories about one individual are kind of dull. Even stories about one person include relationships of some kind. Robinson Crusoe had Wilson. Or was it Friday? I get them confused.
Honestly, I try to avoid emotions as much as I can in my personal life because they can distract me from reading and writing, but writing without emotions can be boring. I like boring in my life, but I don’t like boring in my reading and writing, so I write about emotions whenever I can fit them into my stories.
If you can’t write about yourself, who can you write about? Every character you create is an extension of yourself in some way. Or maybe not. But some character in every story is probably an extension of yourself. I have no evidence to back that up, but it sounds good, so it must be true.
4. What you know
Of course, you have to write about what you know. It’s probably impossible to write if you don’t know anything about everything that you’re writing about. Then again, I’ve never tried it, but I’ve never heard of anybody who has, so it has to be impossible.
5. What you don’t know
If I only wrote about what I knew, my writing would be pretty limited. Luckily, I have the internet. With the internet, I can find out about stuff that I didn’t know about and then pretend I knew it all along.
Nobody knows what I know and don’t know, except maybe Google, but I hope Google is too busy selling information in bulk to look individually into what I know and don’t know. I wonder how writers wrote about what they didn’t know about before the internet. I guess they just made stuff up.
As much as I enjoy a challenge while writing, I’m not sure I would ever try to not write about these five topics. On the other hand, I don’t like being told what to do either. This stinks. I’ve just told myself that I MUST write about these topics, and I have a tough time writing when I’m told what to write about, and now my mind has gone blank.
Great. I’ve just given myself writer’s block, and I know exactly what I MUST write about.
What do you think? What is worse, being told what to read or told what to write? What other topics MUST authors write about? Do you like to focus more on what you know or don’t know? What do you do when you accidentally give yourself writer’s block?
When my high school English teacher told us that we could write about anything, I didn’t just write a story. I wrote…