I’ve already discussed in other posts that I don’t think you need to follow the old adage that you should only write what you know and to write what you like doesn’t necessarily mean you know everything about that genre. Say you pick up your first steampunk story and fall in love with the gears, the automatons and dirigibles. You think “Wow, that was great! I wish I could write a story like that.”
Who’s to say you can’t?
Research and a love for your story can make anything possible. I feel that if you are writing something you know you would like to read, it makes you more excited to work on and finish the project. Think about any significant length papers you ever had to write for school. Were you excited to have to do them? Probably not so much. Were they on topics you enjoyed? Maybe, but more likely not really. Did you keep putting it off until the last possible minute because you weren’t so interested in writing them? If you were like me you did. Even when I was interested in the topic for my senior essay (30+ pages on how Russian lit influenced modern Japanese lit. I got an A!) I wasn’t raring to write every day like I can be when I’m working on a story I love.
You’ve got to like what you’re writing. If you don’t, it will either never get finished or you’ll get it done but it’ll be obvious to any reader that your heart wasn’t in it. Like any other art form, people can see the passion and emotion in your writing. If it’s not there while you’re crafting the story, it’s not going to come across very well to those who read it. Your characters will be flat and your descriptions bland. The idea behind the story might be a great one, but without the passion behind it, people aren’t going to care enough to finish reading.
Write things you would enjoy reading. Write about things you want to learn more about. Write what you like.
Have you ever decided you just didn’t like what you were writing? Did you re-write and improve on it, coming to love the story? Or did you just scrap the project all together?