I’ve written several times on this blog about examining what you like to read, and writing that. For the most part, it’s common advice that I think is a pretty solid place to start when it comes to figuring out what you want to write.
But it’s much easier said than done.
First of all, there’s the challenge of identifying just what you like to read. What if you like more than one kind of story? What if you only like certain parts of stories, and not the rest of them? What if what you think you’d like to read the most doesn’t exactly exist? (The last one sounds like a great opportunity to create something new, until you realize that you have no examples to go on.)
Second of all, you can stare all you want at what you like to read, and all you’ll have is a vague idea of how to write exactly that story (or fanfiction). While there’s nothing wrong with that for writing, for a career in writing you actually have to write something new and original (at least marginally). And when you venture out to write your own thing, you realize that now you have to come up with that genius plot twist, or that effortless prose, or those loveable characters. Just because I can listen to great singers all day doesn’t mean I can open my mouth and not cause hearing damage to any unfortunate listeners.
And third of all, you might come up with ideas or want to write something that’s nothing like what you want to read. Maybe it’s just a random idea that popped into your head and you can’t stop thinking about; maybe it’s something you want to try writing for fun or growth or for someone else.
So while I think that looking at what you like to read is a great tool for figuring out exactly where your tastes lie, it isn’t the ultimate answer in what to read. If it can help you find something to write, awesome; but it shouldn’t stop you from writing something that interests you if it doesn’t match what you like to read.
Write what you want to write.