Personally, word of mouth recommendations probably influence what I read more than anything else. Secondly, probably my mood dictates what I read. You know, am in the mood for something light and humorous, something historical, a classic, that sort of thing, along with the author’s reputation. Everything else cover, title, synopsis, blah, blah, blah are clumped together.
If by chance you’re wondering what you should write, let me offer sone unsolicited advice (and I’m sure you’ve heard these four words before): write what you know. But I’d like to add to that, write what you’re most passionate about. Because it’s those things you’re most passionate about that you’ll take the most care in expressing.
Race. I never thought that would be the mainstay topic of my Medium essays, but I’ve discovered that apparently I have a deep passion the subject and of the topics I’ve written about here that’s the one topic that resonates most with folks here on Medium. (Frankly, I love much lighter fare, like romantic comedies, but that’s a tough sell here on Medium; but I’m going to start working on that.)
Funny though, my first book was a memoir. Lord knows I was familiar with the subject matter. Writing it was fun. Reining in the relevant while straining out the superfluous, and at the same time searching for throughlines and meaning proved to be personally enriching.
Here’s a little snippet of a post I wrote a while back. This cutting relates to finding your writing voice and what to write about —
“We writers are passionate people.
I think the vast majority of us live to express ourselves through words. Like composers with musical notes, and painters with their medium of choice, we writers command a great power.
words : writers :: notes : composers
Writers have the power to take readers on journeys of our choosing. We can make their souls soar and sometimes for a few glorious moments erase the worries that plague their minds. We can introduce them to new experiences they’d otherwise know nothing about, broadening their understanding of worlds real and imaginary. And on rare occasions, if we’re lucky, unbeknownst to us, we will touch our readers in ways we never fully understand. But by the same token, we can drag our readers spirits to the depths of hell and drag them through unspeakable pain …
…It may or may not be hard for you to believe, but YOUR own story is exactly the type of story the world needs to hear. I challenge you to embrace all that you are and strive to become all God created you to be. You can help make people aware. Your story and that of your grandparents are living proof that Black lives matter and that “we are all part of one another.”
I’m sure you’ll do an “OutDamnStanding” job whatever you choose. Just make sure it’s something you care about because your readers will be able to tell right off the bat.