4 min read

Write What You Love

A Guest Feature by Cat Rambo

Cat Rambo lives, writes, and teaches somewhere in the Pacific Northwest. Their 250+ fiction publications include stories in Asimov’s, Clarkesworld Magazine, and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. In 2020 they won the Nebula Award for fantasy novelette Carpe Glitter. They are a former two-term President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). Their most recent works are space opera You Sexy Thing (Tor Macmillan, November, 2021), as well as an anthology, The Reinvented Heart (Arc Manor, February, 2022),  co-edited with Jennifer Brozek. For more about Cat, as well as links to fiction and popular online school, The Rambo Academy for Wayward Writers, see their website.

Writers are fonts of writing advice, often because it is easier to pontificate about writing than it is to put butt in chair and begin the sometimes endless-seeming process of asking And what then? And what then? Everyone has favorite pieces of advice they like to rant about, such as the excessive use of adverbs or the decline of Western civilization as played out in the popularity of the Oxford comma. I once saw a very young writer ask Ray Bradbury what a writer should know, and Bradbury said Manners, and then went on to explain what he meant in a way that showed he’d answered that question that way more than once before.

Write what you love is one of those pieces of writing advice that gets trotted around and may even seem the equivalent of the LIVE LOVE LAUGH plaque hanging in some existential AirBnb of the soul. It’s a piece of advice that is so basic, so simple that people ignore it, think it purely decorative.

But the thing about that sort of advice is that often it’s worth taking the time to look again. Sometimes they’re more like zen koans, or puzzle boxes that yield increasing levels of secrets the more you know about unlocking their depths.

Absolutely, write what you love, and know that there are a multitude of reasons for doing so.

Write what you love because those are the stories you are most immersed in, the ones whose language you know so thoroughly it feels intuitive. If you love a genre, working in it feels happily familiar, a garment you’ve seen on others, one you can tailor to your own dimensions.

Write what you love because you will write faster, more easily, more in the flow. The story will pop into your head at odd moments, and the characters will be hanging about, having conversations with you when you least expect it. At night, trying to fall asleep, you’ll envision moments in what you’re working on, scenes and sights and smells and sounds. It is your dreamland; make it easy to get there.

Write what you love because your joy will come through in the writing. Writing to tailor to market expectations will play you false, make you think about things other than the happiness of creation, will make you stress and worry about the future, which you cannot control.

Write what you love because writing is often a peculiarly anonymous vocation. You will not be recognized in public (except, perhaps at conventions) unless luck or high levels of fame are involved.

Along the same lines, write what you love because it is easier to write for love than for money. And let us be brutally frank - the money is far better in other, more predictably lucrative fields like dentistry or software development.

Write what you love, because this is your existence, your life and if this is what you choose to fill it, then do so knowing you are filling your life with joyful production, with that happy flow of words that comes when you are writing to discover, listening to your soul play Scheherazade, that narrative concocted to please you most of all.

Write what you love, because you might as well enjoy yourself in this world. Write what you love, so I and all your other readers can read it and love it too.

best, Cat

Just when they thought they were out...

TwiceFar station is at the edge of the known universe, and that's just how Niko Larson, former Admiral in the Grand Military of the Hive Mind, likes it.

Retired and finally free of the continual war of conquest, Niko and the remnants of her former unit are content to spend the rest of their days working at the restaurant they built together, The Last Chance.

But, some wars can't ever be escaped, and unlike the Hive Mind, some enemies aren't content to let old soldiers go. Niko and her crew are forced onto a sentient ship convinced that it is being stolen and must survive the machinations of a sadistic pirate king if they even hope to keep the dream of The Last Chance alive.

Add YOU SEXY THING to your tbr here. Order it from your local independent bookseller, or order it via Bookshop.org to support independent booksellers throughout the US and the UK. For international shipping, you can try Barnes & Noble. If you prefer audiobooks, here’s a Libro.fm link. You can also request YOU SEXY THING from your local library — here’s how to get in touch with them . And if you need to order from the Bad River Website, here’s a link that will leverage your order to help get clean water to people who need it.

No matter what you do, please find a way to support Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. There are some resources here to get you started. You can also click here to find ways to support Black communities and people.

In the meantime, care for yourself and the people around you. Believe that the world can be better than it is now. Never give up.