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Five W’s of Writing: What Do You Write?

Five-W-WhatThis is the second article in the series, The Five W’s of Writing (Who, What, When, Where, and Why).

So you’re a writer. What do you write?

When people ask me this question, I don’t know exactly what to say. I formulate my answer depending on who’s asking. If the question comes from another writer, I get specific about genre and subject matter. But, I try to give a short answer if the questioner is someone asking just to be polite. I might say, “I write magazine articles for a local magazine and some Christian publications.”

First, accept and be proud of the fact that you call yourself a writer. Realize that anyone interested enough to ask you this question might be a potential reader. Then, decide how you will answer the question.

What genres do you write?

To answer fiction or nonfiction doesn’t really say much. Fiction writers, do you write short stories or novels? If you write novels, what kind do you write? Take a look at the Carol Awards list for some examples. Nonfiction books are categorized by subject matter. Whether you write books are articles, your area of expertise might become your brand. You might write short nonfiction works like how-to articles, memoir, essays, poetry, profiles, news, or creative non-fiction. You’ll sound more professional when you identify the exact genres that you write.

What subjects do you write about?

If it’s fiction, you just make it up, right? Yes, but you need to be familiar with your physical and historical settings to make your story believable. Fiction writers usually choose settings that are familiar to them. If not, they do a lot of research before the actual writing. Nonfiction authors write to share information and/or encourage others. They choose topics for which they have developed expertise. And, they might fill the role of reporter or ghostwriter, writing about other people’s unique experiences.

What will you say when someone asks you what you write?

  • If I were to ask Ann Gabhart what she writes, I would expect her to say this. “I write historical fiction, mostly set in in Kentucky, where I live.”
  • Beth Moore might say, “I write Bible studies and Christian living books mainly for women.”

Answer this question for yourself. I invite you to share your answer by commenting on this post.

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