One of the first steps to getting started as a writer and taking it seriously is finding your genre. When I first began to think I might actually be able to write, and finish, stories and novels I had no real thought about genre. Even though I read widely, I had no real idea what I wanted to write or how it might be classified. The first novel I finished would be considered a Young Adult paranormal, if it were worth publishing instead of being forever hidden away in my Trunk folder. From there I gravitated to Urban Fantasy, for a number of reasons. I had loved all things paranormal and supernatural since I was a kid. As an adult I developed a fondness for noir and mystery novels. Then there was Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel - dissertations could be written about Joss Whedon's influence on pop culture, fiction, and storytelling. Finally, there was my first actual UF novels - Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files. In the UF genre I found so much of what I loved all rolled into one package. Writing UF seemed a no-brainer.
Write what you know may be an important guideline, albeit one that could be interpreted any number of ways. I think write what you love is equally important. If there's no passion, it's going to be a short relationship between you and that book you're trying to write. Here's my favorite quote from Stephen King's On Writing: "I was built with a love of the night and the unquiet coffin." I couldn't say it better myself. While it's true I love to read many genres, paranormal is where my heart's at and the first place my writing instincts lead me. When you first start out and are still learning how to write, don't handicap yourself by trying to write what you think you should write. Write what you feel you should write. And keep doing that, possibly for years. Maybe forever. It's good to challenge yourself and try your hand at other genres. I did that several times last year, and failed each and every time. ;-) I'll probably keep trying, and maybe keep failing. But the bulk of my writing is in the Urban Fantasy genre and most likely will be for some time. It's what I love, and I think I'm even getting kind of good at it. It suits me, too, with my love of moonlight and all things that go bump in the night.
What draws you to the genre in which you write?